By Dave McNary
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Marvel-Disney's "Captain America: Civil War" has opened the summer spectacularly with a dominant $181.8 million weekend at 4,266 U.S. locations.
The third "Captain America" movie met lofty expectations with the fifth-best domestic opening weekend of all time -- trailing only "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at $248 million, "Jurassic World" at $208.8 million, "Marvel's The Avengers" at $207.4 million and "Avengers: Age of Ultron" at $191.3 million.
The tentpole has already topped the final domestic total of 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger" at $176.6 million and should eclipse 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" at $259 million by the end of next weekend.
The marketing for "Civil War" clearly resonated with moviegoers, as it promised an epic fight between Chris Evans' Captain America and Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, plus the introduction of Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther and Tom Holland's Spider-Man.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with ComScore, said the performance of "Captain America: Civil War" underlines Marvel and Disney's adept management of a key franchise.
"'Captain America: Civil War' certainly delivered the goods as the official kick off movie of the summer of 2016 was in perfect position to capitalize on its sheer quality, massive entertainment value, brand appeal and a high-profile release date," he noted. "Despite a cadre of sports-related options on the small screen, including the Kentucky Derby and Stanley Cup playoffs, 'Cap' came on strong with a top 5 all-time opening weekend debut and expected long-term bankability at the multiplex."
"Captain America" is also keeping the U.S. box office on track for a record performance in 2016 with $3.856 billion through this weekend -- 7.8% ahead of the same point last year and an impressive 14.7% ahead of 2014. Disney has played a major role in that gain with "The Jungle Book" and "Zootopia" delivering blockbuster numbers plus "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" providing $285 million, or 30% of its $936 million total.
The fourth weekend of "The Jungle Book" finished second to "Captain America" with $21.9 million at 4,144 sites to lift its 24-day total to $285 million. Open Road's comedy "Mother's Day" came in a distant third with $9 million at 3,141, followed by Universal's third frame of "The Huntsman: Winter's War" with $3.6 million at 2,901.
With its apt title, "Mother's Day" saw an impressive 7% rise in business during the Mother's Day weekend following a so-so opening frame. The ensemble movie, starring Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson, has taken in $20.7 million in its first ten days.
The 10th weekend of "Zootopia" was edged out for fifth by New Line's second session of "Keanu," which fell more than 67% to about $3.1 million. "Zootopia" followed with $2.7 million at 2,077 locations, bringing its 66-day total to $327.6 million.
As a result, "Zootopia" has eclipsed Warner Bros.' "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" by $300,000 as the year's second-biggest domestic grosser after Fox's "Deadpool" at $362.2 million.