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.

Actor Chris Evans arrives at the European premiere of "Captain America, Civil War" at a shopping centre in east London | Source: Reuters

The tent pole 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.

Fans take photos as cast members arrive during a blue carpet event for the movie "Captain America: Civil War" in Singapore | Source: Reuters

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 percent ahead of the same point last year and an impressive 14.7 percent 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 percent of its $936 million total.

Actor Jeremy Renner, who plays "Clint Barton", poses for photographers at a media event ahead of the release of "Captain America: Civil War", in London | Source: Reuters

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 percent 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.

Actress Emily VanCamp, who plays "Kate", poses for photographers at a media event ahead of the release of, "Captain America: Civil War", in London | Source: Reuters

The 10th weekend of Zootopia was edged out for fifth by New Line's second session of Keanu, which fell more than 67 percent 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.