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Winning over critics and moviegoers alike, Marvel and Disney’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier grossed $37 million from 3,938 theaters on Friday, the biggest day ever for the month of April, not accounting for inflation. The superhero sequel is expected to earn $93 million-plus for the weekend, also an April best.
Overseas, where it opened ahead of its North American launch, the $170 million tentpole has already earned $132.2 million and should finish Sunday with a whopping global total of $270 million or more — only $100 million behind the $370.6 million earned by Captain America: The First Avenger in its entire run. So far, Captain America 2 is pacing 40 percent ahead of the first film, which debuted in July 2011.
Universal’s 2011 Fast Five was the previous record-holder for the best single day in April ($34.4 million). It likewise holds the record for top April opening ($86.2 million), a milestone Captain America 2 will eclipse.
Captain America 2, directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, nabbed an A CinemaScore across all demos, as well as stellar reviews from critics.
The follow-up is also benefiting from the post-Avengers glow. Like the first Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger launched to roughly $65 million domestically in July 2011. But the wild success of 2012’s The Avengers has seen fortunes rise for the Iron Man and Thor franchises.
Returning Chris Evans in the title role, as well as Avengers stars Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson, Captain America 2 picks up two years after Avengers left off. Captain America and Black Widow (Johansson) discover there is a secret conspiracy within S.H.I.E.L.D. and fight to stop it, along with The Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie. (Some critics have described the film as an intriguing espionage tale, versus never-ending action.) The villainous Winter Soldier is played by Sebastian Stan.
With Captain America 2 commanding such devotion, Darren Aronofsky‘s controversial biblical epic Noah fell to No. 2 on its second Friday with $4.9 million from 3,571 locations. The Paramount and New Regency film is expected to decline 60 percent or more for the weekend. Paramount insiders note that’s in line with recent Christian film Son of God, as well as with male-fueled event movies facing competition from a new tentpole.
Coming in No. 3 on its third Friday was Summit’s Divergent with $4.2 million from 3,631 theaters. The YA film adaptation is expected to decline 47 percent to $13 million for the weekend, pushing its domestic total to $114 million through Sunday.
Independent Christian film God’s Not Dead continues to pull in impressive numbers, posing competition for Noah for faith-based moviegoers. God’s Not Dead, expanding into a total of 1,758 theaters on its third Friday, placed No. 4 with $2.2 million. The movie is projected to earn north of $8 million for the weekend for a domestic total of roughly $32 million.
Wes Anderson‘s box-office hit The Grand Budapest Hotel placed No. 5 Friday with $1.5 million from 1,263 locations. The movie will finish the weekend with a dazzling domestic cume of $42 million.
Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s Sabotage continues to prove itself a box-office bomb in its second outing. The action film is expected to come in No. 9 for the weekend with $1.9 million for a paltry total of $8.8 million.
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