Weekend Box Office: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER Fends Off RIO 2 for Second Frame on Top

     April 13, 2014

captain america the winter soldier poster chris evans

After setting a new April record with its $95 million debut last weekend, Captain America: The Winter Soldier scored a second week on top by flying ahead of Rio 2.  After coming in second on Friday, the superhero was not expected to top the debut of Fox’s animated sequel.  But with a better than expected Saturday hold, The Winter Soldier pulled out a win with an estimated $41.4 million.  In the end, Rio 2 took in a reported $39 million, while fellow new releases Oculus and Draft Day settled for more terrestrial launches.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Captain America 2 $41,398,000 $159
2.  Rio 2 $39,000,000 $39
3.  Oculus $12,000,000 $12
4.  Draft Day $9,750,000 $9.75
5.  Divergent $7,500,000 $124.8
6.  Noah $7,450,000 $84.8
7.  God’s Not Dead $4,485,000 $40.7
8.  The Grand Budapest Hotel $4,050,000 $39.4
9.  Muppets Most Wanted $2,193,000 $45.6
10.  Mr. Peabody & Sherman $1,825,000 $105.2

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-final-posterOne week ago it looked like it would be a very tight race for first place this weekend.  Both Rio 2 and Captain America 2 were projected to come in with about $40 million, which left box office watchers waiting until Friday to see which movie would have the edge.  Friday seemed to give the advantage to the animated sequel, which just goes to show how accurate Friday night’s projections can be!

As we reported yesterday, Marvel features typically experience a second week drop of at least 56%.  This was precisely the drop that Captain America 2 did take in his sophomore frame, so nothing unexpected there.  The confusion came from Rio 2, which earned a a bit more on Friday ($12 million) than expected.  Factoring in the Saturday bump common to animated family films – and the fact that so many US kids are on April vacation – the G rated feature seemed headed for an opening of at least $45 million.  It didn’t fly quite that high, taking in an estimated $39 million from 3,948 locations – right where the sequel was projected to land before Friday’s numbers were announced.

In April 2011, Rio was a solid springtime hit for Fox: opening with $39.2 million on its way to a total gross of $143.6 million.  That made it the fourth highest-grossing animated film of the year in North America – ahead of The Smurfs but behind Puss in Boots and others.  It was on the international market that Rio made the biggest splash, earning more than 70% of its $484.6 million global gross from lucrative runs in France, Mexico and (naturally) Brazil.  Rio 2 is already benefitting from its predecessors overseas performance. Since opening in March, the sequel has earned over $125 million from international markets.

rio-2-posterRio 2 received an A CinemaScore from audiences, though critics have been less welcoming.  The sequel is currently at 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to the 71% of the first film.  Still, in terms of its long-term forecast, Rio 2 should have clear skies.  The box office will not see another animated feature until How to Train Your Dragon 2 opens in June, so Fox can expect to see excellent multiples.

Because Rio 2 stole some of Captain America’s thunder yesterday, now is a good time to give the victor his due.  Though down a big 68% on Friday, The Winter Soldier was up almost 50% on Saturday, and ended with a better second weekend hold than either Iron Man 3 or Captain America: The First Avenger.  The sequel has already earned a worldwide total of $476.7 million, which puts it just $168 million behind the final global gross of Thor: The Dark World.

After the big grosses of both Captain America 2 and Rio 2, the box office didn’t reserve much excitement for the weekend’s remaining new releases: Oculus and Draft Day.   The supernatural horror pic Oculus earned an estimated $12 million from 2,648 locations – in line with expectations but just a bit behind the $13 million that Insidious earned in April 2011.  Things didn’t go as well for Draft Day.  The sports drama starring Kevin Costner was projected to bring in about $12 million, but wound up with $9.7 million from 2,781 locations instead.  That’s less than $12.2 million that Costner’s last feature, 3 Days to Kill, opened to in February.  A surprising outcome, considering Draft Day was heavily marketed to the sports fans who loved the actor in films like Field of Dreams and Tin Cup.

Thanks to a top heavy top ten, this weekend came out more than 15% ahead of the same frame in 2013, when 42 took first place with $27.5 million.  Next weekend should keep 2014 in the black, though it’s more likely to be a group effort than the result of an overwhelming first place finish.  Two new nationwide releases – Transcendence and A Haunted House 2 – open on Friday, joining the faith-based feature Heaven is for Real, which opens on Wednesday.  Among the newbies, Transcendence looks strongest, with a projected debut of $21 million.  Of course, that’s the same range that both Captain America 2 and Rio 2 are aiming for next weekend so, unless the buzz for the sci-fi thriller gets a lot stronger in the coming week, my money is on Rio 2 for the win.


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