This weekend, the Easter frame saw a menu of new releases debut but audiences still made the super hero juggernaut Captain America: The Winter Soldier the top attraction as the Marvel man spent his third consecutive weekend at number one. The Disney release had a nice hold dipping 36% to an estimated $26.6M joining the double century club in the process with a cume to date of $201.5M.
Soldier is the second biggest blockbuster of 2014 trailing the $252.3M of The LEGO Movie which also happens to be the only other movie this year to threepeat. A final domestic haul north of $250M seems likely. Captain America has just under two weeks of playtime left before The Amazing Spider-Man 2 kicks off the North American summer movie season on Thursday night, May 1, with 7:00pm shows.
Worldwide, Winter Soldier has smashed the $500M mark and is already closing in on $600M. Overseas markets brought in an estimated $35.3M, boosting the international tally to $385.1M and the global haul to $586.6M, which is double the take of the first Captain America with plenty more to go as Japan just opened this weekend. China leads offshore markets by a mile with an incredible $98.4M.
Holding steady in second place again was the animated comedy Rio 2 which fell 43% in its sophomore frame to an estimated $22.5M boosting the cume to $75.4M. That was higher than the 33% decline that the first Rio witnessed in its second weekend in 2001 which was also helped by Easter. For a sequel, the larger drop was normal and the ten-day tally is just under that film’s $80.8M. Rio 2 may finish its domestic run in the $130-140M range.
Third place saw a terrific debut from this year’s latest faith-based hit Heaven Is For Real which beat expectations to score an estimated $21.5M over the weekend and a sensational $28.5M over the five days since its Wednesday release. Timed to enter the marketplace just ahead of Easter, the PG-rated film generated the best average of any wide release with $8,895 from 2,417 locations over the Friday-to-Sunday span. The mid-week launch got word-of-mouth going, Good Friday saw numbers skyrocket, and Easter Sunday is expected to deliver solid sales too.
The Sony release targeted its audience well and they came out. Heaven‘s domestic gross has already more than doubled its low $12M production cost and its marketing spend is likely to be well under that of other films that open at the $20M range. The uplifting drama saw an audience that skewed 62% female and 51% over 35. Customers liked what they got, as evidenced by the A CinemaScore grade. Add in recent faith-based hits Son of God, God’s Not Dead, and Noah and the four films will combine to collect over $300M.
Johnny Depp failed to bring out audiences to his new sci-fi thriller Transcendence which flopped in fourth with an estimated opening of $11.2M from 3,455 locations for a dismal $3,227 average. It was far worse than the $27.5M opening of last May’s sci-fi disaster After Earth and fell below the $12.7M of non-starter R.I.P.D. and even the $16.5M of Depp’s underperformer The Tourist. Transcendence failed on all fronts as it was panned by critics and earned a lousy CinemaScore C+ grade from paying audiences. Christopher Nolan’s long-time cinematographer Wally Pfister made his directing debut here.
Studio research from Warner Bros. showed that 56% of the movie fans that did actually show up were male and 56% were over 25. The PG-13 tale of a genius scientist who is uploaded into a supercomputer never gained much audience interest in the weeks leading up to release. Depp’s starpower meant nothing as fans rejected a poorly-reviewed film that did not seem fun to them. The good news for the film is that it may still become a major awards contender — for next year’s Razzies.
The spoof comedy sequel A Haunted House 2 attracted only half of the audience of its predecessor and landed in fifth with an estimated $9.1M. The Marlon Wayans pic averaged a mild $3,939 from 2,310 locations and did not generate the same audience excitement as the first House which opened to $18.1M in January of last year.
Kevin Costner’s latest film Draft Day dropped a moderate 40% in its second weekend to an estimated $5.9M. The Lionsgate release has still only grossed $19.5M to date and looks to finish with a disappointing $30M or so. The distributor’s sci-fi film Divergent followed closely with an estimated $5.8M, off only 22% showing good legs once again. Total so far is $133.9M.
Oculus saw a normal horror fall dropping 57% in its second weekend to an estimated $5.2M for a $21.2M sum overall. Relativity may find its way to about $30M by the end of the run. Paramount’s epic Noah grossed an estimated $5M, down 34%, for a $93.3M cume. Global gross is up to $290.7M. Faith-based hit God’s Not Dead enjoyed its fifth weekend in the top ten dipping only 13% over the Easter frame to an estimated $4.8M for $48.3M overall for Freestyle.
Disney saw a soft opening outside the top ten for its latest nature documentary Bears which bowed to an estimated $4.8M from 1,720 locations for a dull $2,776 average. The performance came in well below the debuts of the studio’s other docs released around Earth Day like Chimpanzee, which bowed to $10.7M, and African Cats, which was released in far fewer theaters but still debuted to $6M and an average near $5,000.
The arthouse comedy Fading Gigolo got off to a solid start, grossing an estimated $198,000 from only five sites for a strong $39,680 average. The Millennium release was directed by John Turturro and stars Woody Allen, Turturro, and a handful of other stars. Reviews were mixed and the R-rated film expands to about 25 screens next weekend.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $117.5M which was down 15% from last year’s Easter frame which was in late March when G.I. Joe: Retaliation opened at number one with $40.5M; but up 2% from 2012’s holiday when The Hunger Games remained on top for a third time with $33.1M.