Here are your three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - $41.3 million ($159.0 million total)
1. Rio 2 - $39.0 million ($39.0 million total)
3. Oculus - $12.0 million ($12.0 million total)
4. Draft Day - $9.7 million ($9.7 million total)
5. Divergent - $7.5 million ($124.8 million total)
6. Noah - $7.4 million ($84.8 million total)
7. God's Not Dead - $4.4 million ($40.7 million total)
8. The Grand Budapest Hotel - $4.0 million ($39.4 million total)
9. Muppets Most Wanted - $2.1 million ($45.6 million total)
10. Mr. Peabody & Sherman - $1.8 million ($105.2 million total)
The Big Stories
Captain America was supposed to lord over April. At least if you listened to me. With such a potentially weak crop of competition and good word of mouth on the latest Marvel venture, it seemed strong enough to be that rare film that sits atop the box office for four straight weeks. But on Friday it looked like Kramer after getting pushed down by Elaine in front of his child classmates in karate class. Actually it did not look that bad, but it was a tad surprising that it could be overtaken by an animated sequel to a film many people had to be reminded existed in the first place. But Steve Rogers mounted a Hulk Hogan-like rally on Saturday and Sunday and managed to best that, oh, what's its name again?
"And She Dances on the Sand"
That film was Rio. It's sequel? Rio 2. The first film opened nearly two years ago to the day, a week before Easter weekend and started with a healthy $39.2 million that made it the fifth highest April opening ever. (Fast Five dropped it to sixth two weeks later.) While Captain America: The Winter Soldier became the all-time champ in that regard, Rio 2 seemed like it was back to reclaim the fifth spot on the April list of openers, but it fell back a bit to nearly match the original's opening and now ranks just behind it at eighth on the list.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95.0), Fast Five ($86.1), Fast and Furious ($70.9), Clash of the Titans 2010 ($61.2), Anger Management ($42.2), Scary Movie 4 ($40.2), Rio ($39.2), Rio 2 ($39.0), Hop ($37.5), Oblivion ($37.0)
Even better news for the film is that competition for the family dollar is pretty clear until Maleficent opens at the end of May. (We're not counting whatever Legends of Oz is supposed to be.) It should have no problem making its way to $100 million and may even match the original's $143 million. Actually the better news is for Fox, which hasn't had a real major success since last summer's The Wolverine. Its coventure with Dreamworks, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, remains one of the big losers of the year (despite its $240 million worldwide.) Rio 2 is already over its first $100 globally and if it comes close to the first film's $484 million (it has taken in $125 million overseas so far), the studio can take a few breaths on getting into the black on the year. And then start sweating all over again as X-Men: Days of Future Past is primed to have the second biggest production budget in studio history behind Avatar.
How Is Captain America Really Doing?
Fine. That is the short answer. For now I will even hold on to the assertion that it can still be the year's biggest movie until How to Train Your Dragon 2 overtakes it. Is that still possible? That depends on what you believe The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is capable of its first weekend and whether or not X-Men does early X-Men numbers or more recent X-Men numbers. Captain America: The Winter Soldier currently ranks 15th on the Marvel-universe list. After 10 days in release, this is where it is:
The Avengers ($373.0), Iron Man 3 ($284.9), Spider-Man 3 ($240.2), Spider-Man 2 ($225.1), Spider-Man ($223.0), Iron Man 2 ($211.2), Iron Man ($177.8), X-Men: The Last Stand ($175.3), The Amazing Spider-Man ($165.8), Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($159.0), X2: X-Men United ($147.6), Thor: The Dark World ($145.0), X-Men Origins: Wolverine ($129.0), Thor ($119.4), Captain America: The First Avenger ($117.4)
Somewhere in-between $215 and $262 million is likely the answer for The Winter Soldier's final resting place. Its first hurdle is to make the $251 million that The Lego Movie pulled in. Then it is dependent on Spider-Man not equaling that $95 million start, which some are suggesting based on tracking numbers. It may take until April 25 for Cap to hit $200 million in the U.S. and then will lose most of what audience it has left when Spidey's film opens, meaning that everything may still be awesome for Master Builder rather than Captain America in the home country. But worldwide it will be well over $500 million (it is already at $476 million) and good enough for number one.
Tales of the Top Ten
There were two more films opening this weekend. Relativity's Oculus was picked up for peanuts out of the Toronto Film Festival last year. The horrendously awful horror film is nevertheless already in profit by taking in a simple $12 million. Behind it was Summit's ferociously advertised Draft Day, which ended up trailing the field with just $9.7 million, putting it more with Swing Vote ($6.2 million) and Mr. Brooks ($10.0 million) than 3 Days to Kill ($12.2 million), which is just sad.
Summit has bigger fish to fry, though, with the performance of Divergent. $140 million in the U.S. (which seems its ceiling) is hardly the kind of smash hit the studio was hoping for. Though it has only recently started its overseas run, it is still about $60 million away from breaking into profit for the studio. Is it any wonder why it announced it was breaking the final chapter into two films? The appeal is clearly limited and it will not win any new fans going forward. The sequel is going to get hit much harder with competition next March and likely will not make as much as the first film. Splitting Part Three into a Part Four may be all the studio can do to save face on a venture that was nowhere near the quality of The Hunger Games and not soap opera dopey enough as Twilight to entice love-starved women of all ages.
Then we have Paramount's Noah, which has gone from disaster in the making to success story to disappointment again. Assuming the $125 million price tag is accurate, disappointment is the best description. Disappointment that the studio didn't have enough faith in it to get critics on board with it early. Disappointment that those who could not be bothered to see the film are the ones doing the most talking about it; mostly with mistruths. Disappointment that it could be the first film to open with over $43 million and not reach $100 million in the U.S. Oh how the wickedness of man has struck back against the Creator.
Erik Childress can be seen each Thursday morning on WCIU-TV's First Business breaking down the box office on the Movies & Money segment.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
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