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Continuing Marvel and Disney’s enviable winning streak, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is making history at the global box office, debuting to a record-breaking $96.2 million in North America for an early worldwide total of $303.3 million.
In only 10 days overseas, the sequel has already taken in $207.1 million — eclipsing the entire foreign run of Captain America: The First Avenger ($193.9 million). Domestically, Captain America 2, playing in 3,938 locations, scored the top April opening of all time. The film has a strong shot of surpassing the entire global gross of The First Avenger ($370.6 million) by the end of next weekend.
Universal’s 2011 Fast Five was the previous record-holder for top April opening ($86.2 million).
Thanks to the strong launch of Captain America 2 — which essentially kicks off the summer box office a month early — revenue was up 22 percent year-over-year, while Disney crossed the $1 billion mark globally in terms of 2014 ticket sales (adding icing to the cake, Frozen surpassed The Dark Knight over the weekend to become the No. 9 top-grossing film of all time worldwide).
Captain America 2, directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, nabbed an A CinemaScore across all demos, as well as stellar reviews from critics.
“This start is fantastic. Between the critical response and the CinemaScore, this gives us a lot of hope for how we will continue to play, considering the relative lack of competition and the benefit of three more weeks of spring break, both in the U.S. and overseas,” said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis.
Overseas, where it opened ahead of its North American launch, the $170 million tentpole took in $107.1 million for the weekend from 50 markets, including a $39.2 million opening in China.
The follow-up is certainly benefiting from the post-Avengers glow. Like the first Thor, 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.
Captain America 2 skewed male (64 percent), with 57 percent of ticket buyers over the age of 25. The movie drew a healthy number of couples (58 percent) and families (23 percent). Teenagers made up 19 percent of the audience.
Roughly 40 percent saw the sequel in 3D theaters, with IMAX and premium large format screens generating big returns in particular. IMAX theaters turned in $16.1 million globally, the best ever for an April opening and including $9.6 million in North America. PLF locations recorded a healthy $6.7 million in North America, led by Cinemark.
With Captain America 2 commanding such devotion, Darren Aronofsky‘s controversial biblical epic Noah fell 61 percent domestically in its second weekend. The event movie, placing No. 2, grossed $17 million from 3,751 locations for a domestic total of $72.3 million.
Overseas, Noah, from Paramount and New Regency, sailed past the $100 million mark internationally, taking in $45.6 million from 45 markets for a foreign total of $106.2 million and global cume of $178.5 million. The film also placed No. 2 globally.
Coming in No. 3 in its third weekend in North America was Summit’s Divergent with $13 million from 3,631 theaters, a 49 percent decline and pushing its domestic total to $114 million through Sunday. The YA film took in 11.1 million internationally from 44 markets for an early foreign total of $22.4 million and global cume of $136.4 million (Veronica Roth‘s books aren’t as well known overseas).
Freestyle Releasing’s 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 in its third outing, placed No. 4 with $7.7 million for a domestic total of $32.5 million. The movie fell roughly 12 percent, although its not an apples-to-apples comparison, since it added so many theaters.
Wes Anderson‘s hit The Grand Budapest Hotel rounded out the top five as it expanded into a total of 1,263 theaters in its fifth weekend, grossing $6.3 million for a U.S. cume of $33.4 million. Internationally, Budapest Hotel took in $5.5 million from 35 markets for a foreign total of $54.3 million and pleasing global cume of $87.7 million.
There appears to be no saving Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s latest action offering, Sabotage, which grossed $1.9 million in its second weekend for a dismal domestically total of $8.8 million.
Among family films, Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow’s The Lego Movie crossed the $250 million mark domestically and $400 million worldwide, ending Sunday with $410 million. DreamWorks Animation and Fox’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman crossed $100 million in North America, earning an okay $239.6 million to date globally. Fox’s Rio 2, opening early overseas, took in a stellar $22.2 million internationally from 12 markets, pushing its early foreign cume to $55.5 million (it flies into North America U.S. April 11).
Bombing at the U.S. specialty box office was Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2, which debuted to $75,000 from 30 theaters for a negligible location average of $2,500. The sexual opus, already available on VOD, fared even worse than the first installment, which debuted last month in select theaters.
Among other new limited offerings, writer and director Richard Shepard‘s Dom Hemingway was soft, taking in $32,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $8,000. Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Emilia Clarke and Demian Birchir star in the Fox Searchlight release.
The big winner was Jonathan Glazer‘s Under the Skin, also starring Johansson. The film nabbed the top location average of the weekend ($35,000) as it opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, grossing $140,000 for A24 Films.
Making a more aggressive play was Lionsgate and Codeblack’s Frankie & Alice, starring Halle Berry and based on the true story of African-American go-go dancer Frankie, who suffered from multiple personality disorder (one alter ego was a 7-year-old child, while another was a Southern white racist). Opening in 171 theaters, the drama grossed $350,000 for a location average of just $2,047. Berry stars opposite Stellan Skarsgard in the long-delayed film, which was originally set to open in 2011.
Here are the top 10 estimates for the weekend of April 4-6 at the domestic box office:
Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Weekend Total, Percentage Drop, Cume
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 1/3,938, Disney/Marvel, $96.2 million.
2. Noah, 2/3,751, Paramount/New Regency, $17 million, -61%, $72.3 million.
3. Divergent, 3/3,631, Lionsgate/Summit, $13 million, -49%, $114 million.
4. God’s Not Dead, 3/1,758, Freestyle/Pure Flix $7.7 million, -12%, $32.5 million.
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel, 5/1,263, Fox Searchlight, $6.3 million, -26%, $33.4 million.
6. Muppets Most Wanted, 3/3,052, Disney, $6.28 million, -44%, $42.1 million.
7. Mr. Peabody & Sherman, 5/2,931, Fox/DreamWorks Animation, $5.3 million, -42%, $102.2 million.
8. Sabotage, 2/2,486, Open Road/QED International, $1.9 million, -64%, $8.8 million.
9. Need for Speed, 4/1,779, Disney/DreamWorks, $1.84 million, -57%, $40.8 million.
10. Non-Stop, 6/1,716, Universal, $1.83 million, -54%, $88.1 million.
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