Weekend Box Office: 'Captain America 2' Tops 'Captain America'

Apr 13 2014, 11:58am CDT | by

Weekend Box Office: 'Captain America 2' Tops 'Captain America'
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

This is a classic “rank doesn’t matter” story. That Captain America: The Winter Soldier ended up with $41.4 million to top the box office merely meant that it’s performing in line with Marvel sequels, dropping 56% in weekend two. That Rio 2 ended up with $39 million is a little troubling, as the film was noticeably more front loaded (3.25x off a $12m opening day) than the first Rio ($39.2m off a $10.3m opening day, or 3.8x). Still, which of the two films is technically “number 01!” is pretty irrelevant in terms of their individual box office narratives. As I always say, box office isn’t poker, it’s black jack.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier earned $41.4 million on its second weekend. It’s a good thing the film ended up number one for the weekend, because otherwise it would have magically become a super flop and Captain America 3 would have fled for the safety of a mid-August debut. In all seriousness, the hope was that sterling word-of-mouth and strong reviews would perhaps stem the traditional second weekend bleeding just a bit. But nope, it’s a 56% drop come hell or high water. In terms of weekend drops, 57-60% is the general average among Marvel stand-alone entries outside of Thor (-47%) and Iron Man (-48%), so I guess a 56% drop qualifies as “leggy” by comparison.

That brings its domestic total to $159 million, or within spitting distance of the original Captain America‘s $176m domestic total being toppled by next weekend. The only “bad news” is that the consistency of its domestic drops means that the relative quality of these films is all-but-irrelevant. Worldwide is a different story. After just over two weeks of international play, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has earned $476m worldwide, decimating the first film’s $371m worldwide cume and even topping the $449m cume of Thor for sport. This seems to be a pattern of late, with Marvel sequels topping the worldwide total of the previous entry after just over two weeks of worldwide play. Oh, and it’s earned $31m of that worldwide total in IMAX./>

Even if Rio 2 had been the top movie this weekend, its failure to open higher than Rio would be slightly disconcerting. Rio 2, which stars Catwoman and Lex Luthor (Anne Hathaway and Jessie Eisenberg), has already been in release overseas since March 20th, during which time it’s snagged $55 million leading up to Friday. In terms of animated sequels, it’s closer to Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 (doing a little bit better worldwide) than Despicable Me 2 (basically doubling the worldwide total of the predecessor). Still, the first Rio did $484m worldwide during a pretty crowded frame (five major animated films dropped between February and May), so even a comparable over/under performance would be a big hit at its mere $103m budget.

Rio 2 played 57% female, 25% Hispanic, 19% African America, 14% Asian (or “other”), and 43% Caucasian. It also played 31% 3D.  Still, the fact that the film basically opened identically to the first Rio ($39m) isn’t promising, especially with far less competition this go-around. If you recall, the original Rio opened in this weekend three years ago after Gnomeo and JulietRango, and Hop (and just before Hoodwinked 2). Comparatively, Rio 2 opens in a wide-open kiddie market, with LEGO Movie played out, Frozen on DVD, and Muppets Most Wanted and Mr. Peabody and Sherman basically finished.

Still, the film only cost $103m and it’s not like the world was waiting with baited breath for another Rio adventure. I may end up taking the kids today, if they want to see it. For me, it will mostly be so I can see the How To Train Your Dragon 2 trailer on a big screen. With Spring Break and no explicitly kid-centric competition until Amazing Spider-Man 2 in three weeks (Bears won’t be an issue), Rio 2 is still in decent shape to fly relatively high as spring gives way to summer. It’s already earned $170.2m worldwide.

The next big opener was Oculus. Relativity picked up the $5 million feature from last year’s Toronto’s Midnight Madness Festival. Jason Blum came aboard afterward, arguably so the studio could use “from the producers of Paranormal ActivityInsidious, and Sinister” in their ad campaign. The reviews were surprisingly solid, and it’s the first theatrical horror movie since Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones and Devil’s Due way back in early and mid-January respectively (this year, Video On Demand is where the great horror resides). So its $12m weekend is a solid win. Whether or not we see an Oculus 2 will depend on if has anything resembling legs next weekend. Either way, expect more single-room location films with random words made to sound scary (Repetend… where terror never ends, it just goes on and on and on). The Quiet Ones drops from Lionsgate on April 25th, which would matter if it wasn’t 90% probable that Oculus would be played out by then.

Speaking of Lionsgate (see what I did there?), Kevin Costner’s Draft Day tried again to prove that Kevin Costner is still a face-on-the-poster movie star. The Ivan Reitman football dramedy earned a relatively sad $9.75m for the frame. Yes the film only cost around $20 million, but by any other stretch this is a relative miss. The reviews were mediocre and the film was sold mostly to hardcore football fans. Let’s put it this way, back in 1994, arguably in the middle of Costner’s prime stardom era, this would have been about a $4.5 million debut. I don’t want to kick a wounded horse, but the fact that we’re still expecting Costner to pull in big numbers 25 years after Field of Dreams is a telling sign of how badly Hollywood has bungled that whole “new movie stars” thing. As I’ve said before, Hollywood has spent ten years looking for the next Tom Cruise instead of the next Will Smith, and now we’re stuck relying on 80′s and 90′s movie stars for so-called “star power”.

In limited release news, Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive opened on 24 screens. The Tilda Swinton/Tom Hiddleston vampire film earned a solid $96,976. I can’t say whether the Sony Pictures Classics film will expand all that much, but it’s sure to be a cult favorite in the post-theatrical afterlife. Scarlett Johansson’s Under the Skin expanded to 54 theaters this weekend and earned $309k for A24′s troubles. 

In holdover news, Divergent pulled in $7.5m for weekend (-42%). It has now grossed 124.8m domestic. It’s at $175m worldwide, which explains why Lionsgate decided to split the last book into two movies.   Cesar Chavez crossed the $5m mark but won’t get much farther after this $275k third weekend. Noah earned around $7.4m on its third weekend, bringing its total to $84.8m. $100m domestic might not happen, but overseas is still looking solid. God’s Not Dead earned $4.4m this weekend (-42%) and pushed itself over the $40m mark.

The Grand Budapest Hotel added another 204 theaters and earned another estimated $4m for its trouble. Its total is now at $39.4m, which means it will surely pass The Moonrise Kingdom ($45m) to become Wes Anderson’s second-biggest domestic grosser behind The Royal Tenenbaums ($52m). Worldwide, it’s at $93m, well and above the biggest worldwide total for an Anderson film. Kudos to Fox Searchlight for a breathtakingly successful expansion.  The Muppets Most Wanted grossed around $2.2 million this weekend, pushing its domestic total to $45m. It has $60m worldwide.

DreamWorks Animation’s Mr. Peabody and Sherman earned $1.85m for the frame (-62%), bringing its domestic total to $105m. Overseas, it’s still chasing Turbo, but fortunately they have How To Train Your Dragon 2 on tap. Non-Stop is at $88.4m while Ride-Along has $134.1m as it drops on DVD this week. Warner Bros.’ 300: Rise of an Empire lost 1,000 screens and tumbled 71% for a $425k weekend and $105m cume. The LEGO Movie lost 740 screens and dropped 67% from last weekend, earning $460k. With $251.519m, it surpassed the $251.513m domestic total of Despicable Me to become the domestic champion for non-sequel animated films outside of the Pixar/Disney wheelhouse.

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar continued to play on 37 IMAX screens and earned another $150k for a $457k cume. Finally, The Raid 2 expanded to 954 theaters and earned $1,01m for a $1.45m cume. It’s a terrible per-screen average, but there are ceilings on 2.5 hour ultra-violent foreign language martial arts films. The important thing is that the action junkies living outside of New York and LA who will love this film got to see it in a theater.

That’s it for this weekend. Join us next time for the Johnny Depp sci-fi original Transcendence (review Thursday) from Warner Bros. as well as Disney’s Bears, and A Haunted House 2 from Open Road Films. But the wild card will be the Christian drama Heaven Is For Real from Tri-Star which opens on Wednesday. Speaking of Wednesday, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in the UK this Wednesday, which explains why Fox is releasing a third (and hopefully final) X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer on Tuesday. So yeah, the next few weeks are going to be pretty healthy ones for IMAX.


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