Box Office Guru Wrapup: Captain America: The Winter Soldier is Still Number One

Rio 2 and Oculus round out the top three.

by Gitesh Pandya | Sunday, Apr. 13 2014

Marvel muscle kept Captain America: The Winter Soldier on top of the North American box office for a second time while the Brazilian birds of another April sequel, Rio 2, landed in second place followed by middling debuts from a pair of other new releases.

The latest Captain America saga grossed an estimated $41.4M in its sophomore frame falling an acceptable 56% from its record debut. That was about even with the 57% decline experienced last November by Thor: The Dark World and the 58% drop Iron Man 3 saw last May. All three enjoyed a post-Avengers boost with audiences. Winter Soldier now sits at a mighty $159M on its way to the vicinity of $250M which will beat out all five Thor, Hulk, and Captain America movies.

Overseas success, led by China, has been tremendous for the new Steve Rogers story. This weekend saw $60.6M from 54 markets boosting the international tally to $317.7M and the worldwide haul to $476.7M which is already much bigger than the $371M lifetime global gross of its 2011 predecessor. It could eventually double that mark.

China leads all overseas markets by a wide margin with a jaw-dropping $80.4M to date which is bigger than the next three markets - Korea, UK, and Mexico - combined. With Japan opening next weekend, reaching the $750M mark may just be possible which would beat out most of the films from the Avengers gang as well as last summer's Superman movie Man of Steel.

Opening in second place was the animated sequel Rio 2 with an estimated $39M which was virtually identical to the $39.2M bow of its 2011 predecessor. Both films opened on the session before Easter weekend which is a slot studios often use for major kidpics given that many schools start closing during that time making the target audience available during weekdays. Rio 2 actually edged out Winter Soldier on Friday, but the Saturday increase was not as strong so the full weekend gross came in a few notches below.

Good weather in much of the country on Saturday affected the overall box office and certainly family films. The first Rio jumped 69% Friday-to-Saturday in its debut frame while the sequel increased only 28%. Sequels do tend to be more upfront and nowadays there is extra Thursday night business added to the Friday take, however Rio 2 did not jump up on Saturday as much as expected. Fortunately, there are no A-list toons opening between now and mid-June so Rio 2 can make up any lost business in the days and weeks to come. The G-rated movie can especially corner the market for younger children who parents would not take to gun-heavy super hero films like Captain America. It earned a solid A CinemaScore while marks from film critics were mixed.

Studio research showed that 57% of the crowd was female, 57% was non-white, and a low 31% of sales came from 3D screens. Animated films often score low in this higher-priced format. The reported production budget was just over $100M. The first Rio grossed a whopping $486M worldwide with 71% coming from overseas markets so the follow-up is certainly looking at worldwide audiences to measure success. Rio 2 has already amassed $125.2M from international markets with plenty more to go with Easter holidays coming up. The pair of Rio films may certainly reach a combined global gross of more than $1 billion.

The supernatural thriller Oculus debuted in third place to mediocre results with an estimated $12M from 2,648 locations for a $4,532 average. The R-rated spooky mirror flick earned generally positive reviews from critics, but was not well-liked by the paying public as the CinemaScore grade was a lackluster C. Relativity picked up the low-budget $5M film at last year's Toronto International Film Festival and promoted it as being from the producer of the Paranormal Activity and Insidious franchises. But despite having no major horror films release over the past two months, Oculus still did not attract any impressive turnout.

Kevin Costner suffered his third disappointment in four months as the football flick Draft Day bowed to an estimated $9.8M landing in fourth place. The Lionsgate release averaged a weak $3,506 from 2,781 and was just the latest film this year to see its pricey Super Bowl TV spot fail to translate into box office gold. Others included Need For Speed, Pompeii, Muppets Most Wanted, and Costner's own 3 Days to Kill. Reviews were mixed for Draft Day which cost just under $25M to produce and the CinemaScore was a moderate B+.

Book-based hit Divergent dropped 42% in its fourth lap to an estimated $7.5M pushing the domestic tally to $124.9M for Lionsgate which has three more films to release for this franchise. Overseas grosses from 62 markets climbed to $50.3M for a worldwide take of $175.2M. Also collecting an estimated $7.5M was the historical epic Noah which tumbled 56% to a $84.9M sum for Paramount. Its bigger international haul stands at $162M now for a solid $246.9M global gross.

A pair of moneymaking indies followed those big-budget epics. The faith-based hit God's Not Dead grossed an estimated $5.5M, off 29%, for a $40.8M cume for Freestyle. Fox Searchlight saw an estimated $4.1M with its Wes Anderson smash The Grand Budapest Hotel which declined by 34% putting the total at $39.5M.

Kidpics rounded out the top ten but fell hard thanks to new competition. Disney's Muppets Most Wanted took in an estimated $2.2M, down 64%, while the animated comedy Mr. Peabody & Sherman banked an estimated $1.8M, down 64% as well. Totals are now $45.7M and $105.2M, respectively.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $130.7M which was up 25% from last year when 42 opened at number one with $27.5M; and up 25% from 2012 as well when The Hunger Games remained on top for a fourth weekend with $21.1M.

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