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Weekend Box Office: Winter Soldier Sets April Record

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By Chris Kavan - 04/06/14 at 09:27 PM CT

With just one new movie making a wide debut over the weekend, the question was never about the film opening big - but how big it was going to get. Captain America didn't disappoint - continuing the trend of Marvel's Phase 2 outpacing the original films in the series. It also helped the first weekend in April take a 22% compared to same period last year as 2014 continues to improve over 2013. Long term prospects continue to look good for the rest of the year - but it's still too early to tell whether some strong superheroes are going to be enough to make it a record-setting year (or at least an improvement over last year).


Marvel continues to reap the benefits of the monster hit Avengers. Captain America: The Winter Solider opened to an impressive $96.2 million. That represents the best opening for any film in April, topping the $86.2 of Fast Five in 2011. It also represents a healthy 48% increase over Captain America: The First Avenger, which opened to $65 million (also in 2011). Even better is that Winter Solider opened even higher than Thor: The Dark World's $85.7 million. The film opened just under the $98.6 million of the original Iron Man. The film brought in 40% from 3D screens while it also had a hefty $9.6 million from IMAX screens. Audiences leaned more male (64%) and it garnered an "A" Cinemascore (and, for once, critics largely agree), meaning it should play well in the coming weeks. In fact, it has no real competition until The Amazing Spider-Man 2 lands in May - and that means it will have no problem making back its $170 million budget and I still think $250 million is a probable total for the film. Internationally, Winter Solider has already brought in more that The First Avenger did in its entire run - and Phase 2 is looking awfully good right now. The real test will be whether the oddball Guardians of the Galaxy can have the same effect come August. But for now what is clear is that Winter Solider had a great mix of killer marketing while riding the wave of Avengers good will and it should equal one of the biggest movies yet for 2014.


Facing the massive opening of Winter Solider, Noah bore the brunt of audience attrition as it took a huge 61% hit, dropping to second place with $17 million. That drop is in line with fellow biblical entry Son of God (60%) though a bit more than 300: Rise of an Empire (57%). Through two weeks in theaters, the biblical tale has taken in $72.34 million. With Noah dropping so hard, it's now looking like the film might still be able to top $100 million - but will most likely fall short of its $125 million budget - though ultimately with international help it will wind up a winner - and by and far the highest-grossing film for director Darren Aronofsky.


Poster for Divergent The YA hit fell 49% and took in $13 million to give the film a new total of $114 million - well on its way to $125 million though it will have a to push hard to make it to the $150 million milestone. With sequels already planned, Divergent looks to carry the torch and means that Hollywood is most likely searching for the next big franchise as we speak.


Rising one spot from 5th to 4th place, the faith-based God's Not Dead continued to show strong staying power, adding nearly 600 theaters (and dropping a scant 12%) adding $7.72 million to give it a new total of $32.5 million. Considering the latest numbers, God's Not Dead should top $50 million handily.


Making its debut in the top five, Wes Anderson's latest also added nearly 300 more theaters to its count and took in $6.3 million (down 26%) and a new total of $33.38 million. Anderson's well-received ensemble is also well on its way to $50 million and, though its early, I'm hoping for some early awards show buzz. I'm still waiting for this one to show up in local theaters, but once it does, I'll be the first in line.

Outside the top five: The Lego Movie is the first film of 2014 to cross the $250 million mark, as it took in $1.4 million (13th place) for a new total of $250.6 million. We'll see whether Winter Solider has enough gas to give it a run for its money as the top film of the year.

In other milestone news, Mr. Peabody & Sherman crossed the $100 million mark, taking in $5.3 million for a new total of $102.2 million.

On the global market, Frozen surpassed The Dark Knight with a total of $1.097 billion to become the 9th-highest grossing film of all time - even though it is out on video, it is still bringing in enough that it could still top $400 million domestically.

Next week sees the release of another family film, Rio 2, the horror film Oculus and Kevin Costner's Moneyball-esque football film, Draft Day. Even with the triple threat, chances are Winter Solider will be able to hold off the onslaught and repeat as box office king.


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