Movies are a reflection of our social condition and the era of big-screen superhero dominance may reflect the uncertainty of our times.
The Disney-Marvel production grossed $76.2 million over the weekend finishing No. 1 at the box office for the second week in a row.
The film, screening in more than 4,400 theaters, has grossed $295.9 million domestically in its first ten days.
Capt. America opened last weekend with $179.1 million in box office receipts, the fifth-highest of all time. Only two other comic book movies, last year’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and 2013’s “Iron Man 3,” performed as well over a two weekend period, according to industry figures.
Films based on comic book characters have cross-generational appeal.
Older audiences are familiar with the characters from reading comic books in their teens. Younger viewers are drawn by larger-than-life heroes lots of action and the ability of the main characters to prevail against the bad guys time-after-time.
The fact that the movies are largely formulaic suggests that something accounts for their success other than the plots and characters themselves. In fact, their predictability may be one of the reasons theatergoers flock to see them.
Audiences know the good guys will win in the end. That’s psychologically reassuring in a time when the future is unpredictable, social upheaval is the order of the day and our problems are monumental in scale.
In fact, the comic book characters and movies first exploded in popularity during the ’30s and ’40s, decades that encompassed the Great Depression and World War II.
“Captain America: Civil War” joins 10 other films that have exceeded $70 million in second-weekend box office grosses. It should come as no surprise that several superhero movies made the list.
The biggest second-week draws were “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with $149 million, “Jurassic World,” $106.6 million, “Marvel’s The Avengers,” $103.1 million, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” $77.7 million, “Avatar,” $75.6 million, “The Dark Knight,” $75.2 million and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” $74.2 million.
“The Jungle Book,” another Disney production, also showed strong staying power. It earned $17.8 million at 3,970 locations in its fifth weekend out. It finished second ahead of “Money Monster,” which debuted at $15 million.
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