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Captain Marvel tops box office predictions

Captain Marvel (2019)_s2

Like its titular heroine, Disney's Captain Marvel is defying all expectations.

The highly anticipated film debuted well above analyst predictions of $US125 million ($A177 million), with $153 million in North America, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.

Well behind in second place over the weekend was Universal's How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, which added $14.7 in its third weekend.

In third, Lionsgate's A Madea Family Funeral added $12.1 million in its second weekend (a 55 per cent drop).

Captain Marvel scored the biggest opening weekend of 2019 by a landslide and the first over $100 million. Usually, it takes more superheroes to assemble on-screen to achieve that result. Only Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3 and Marvel's Avengers have performed better among Marvel Cinematic Universe films in their opening weekends.

As far as origin stories, Captain Marvel is rivalled only by Black Panther ($202 million) and has already grossed $455 million globally. Its $89.3 million China debut makes it the third-highest Marvel weekend ever there, behind only Infinity War and Civil War.

"We couldn't be more excited for the results," said Disney's distribution chief, Cathleen Taff. "The global box office has been a wonderful thing to wake up to this morning."

The movie, which cost more than $175 million to make, stars Brie Larson as a Kree noble warrior hero tasked with saving the planet from an influx of invading Skrulls. Over the course of the journey, she awakens to her powers and to the Earth identity she's forgotten.

© DPA 2019