‘Captain America: Civil War,” Walt Disney Co.’s latest Marvel Studios superhero film, will blast into theaters on Friday, kick-starting the summer blockbuster battle for box-office dollars.

The highly competitive summer moviegoing season looks to be particularly volatile this year, with at least four films projected to break the $200 million mark in domestic box office as rival studios strive to put viewers in theater seats amid an increasingly challenging entertainment marketplace.

Disney has a running start heading into the summer, leading all studios in 2016 takings. Advance sales suggest “Civil War” is on track to have the biggest opening of any Marvel movie yet, allowing Disney to stretch its lead.

“Expectations are high in terms of continued growth both at the theaters and in merchandise sales,” said Michael Erstad, a senior consumer analyst at ITG Investment Research Inc. in New York.

This year’s summer season is kicking off early and will stretch through August, allowing studios an opportunity to surpass last year’s huge $4.5 billion season – the second highest ever in box-office history behind 2013’s total of $4.7 billion.

Summer 2015: Part 2

Universal Pictures’ “Jurassic World” led the charge last summer with a record-breaking opening weekend that led to a total of $652 million at the global box office. Disney and Universal alone took 60 percent of last summer’s box-office receipts.

This year, the other major studios are more than eager to share in the blockbuster box-office wealth, and they’re willing to crowd together in the coveted July calendar to do so.

Disney currently holds the largest percentage of the market share of domestic box-office receipts, thanks in no small part to the astronomical success of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the Disney Animation record-breaking giant “Zootopia,” and Jon Favreau’s live-action revival of “The Jungle Book.”

But 20th Century Fox follows closely behind, largely thanks to its own superhero runaway hit, “Deadpool” – which alone has grossed more than $361 million domestically.

This summer’s cinematic shootout is all about familiar characters – and safe bets for the studios – across all genres. While Disney looks to hold its lead in the box-office race ahead of Fox and Warner Bros., it might be Paramount that has the most to gain or lose. Chief Executive Philippe Dauman at Viacom, parent company of the iconic Hollywood studio, announced in February that it would likely sell a majority stake by next month.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.