Marvel’s hegemony continues, but it’s too be expected, right? If the mediocre “Thor: The Dark World” could open to $85 million domestically, surely the better-reviewed and mostly critically-loved “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” could best that by a significant margin, right? Well, in almost 4,000 theaters, it was only roughly $10 million (12%) more, but the ‘Captain America’ sequel broke April box-office records this weekend and grossed a whopping $10.2 million during late Thursday screenings and $30-something million on opening day. The cumulative effect rang up $96.2 million, a little shy of the breaking $100 million estimates, but still Marvel’s fifth-highest opening ever after “The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3” and “Iron Man 2,” which does seem a little low compared to ‘IM2,’ but it is April, and Chris Evans is not quite Robert Downey Jr. Still, as being criticized for the most boring of ‘Avengers’ characters, the Captain is sitting pretty this weekend.
Globally, the movie is a smash, opening to almost $40 million this weekend in China (the biggest Disney/Marvel movie opener ever in that country) and already sitting at a $303 million worldwide. Sony’s likely sweating it, as the better-dated “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is probably not going to match these numbers internationally or domestically. One also has to speculate if this gives Warner Bros. pause for their “Batman Vs. Superman” film that is set to open on the same day that “Captain America 3” opens in 2016. Don’t be surprised if they flinch in this game of chicken just to be safe (btw, in case you're wondering, 3D for the U.S. was 41%, IMAX was only 10% and the Cinemascore was an A).
Falling 61% in its second week, Paramount’s “Noah” took a sizable tumble, but not one unexpected considering the audience-friendly super-hero tentpole it was up against. Plus Darren Aronofsky’s film is dark, and untentpole-like, so the $17 million second-weekend gross was close to most estimates. The Russell Crowe-starring movie has grossed $178 million worldwide, and presumably can keep chugging along for the next few weeks, with $300 million not being unfeasible at this trajectory thus far.
The sci-fi YA film “Divergent” passed the $100 million mark this weekend, adding another $13 mill to its domestic total and hanging on for the number three spot. It’s third week drop was only 49.3%, so it seems to have stickiness with the kids. Worldwide, it hasn’t charted at all, but it has really barely opened up in any major markets. It will be interesting to see how the film connects globally in the same manner it has in The U.S.
Showing no signs of slowing down and expanding beautifully (the picture-perfect graph incline of how to platform a film wide), Wes Anderson’s“The Grand Budapest Hotel” grossed $7.1 million and cracked the top 5. It’s already his highest grossing picture ever, globally, and at this pace is on track to become his biggest film to date stateside as well, besting “The Royal Tenenbaums” (which is his benchmark at home with $52 million). It could conceivably hit the $100 million mark worldwide at this rate.
The surprise religious indie “God’s Not Dead” held strong with another $7 million in the can and “Muppets Most Wanted” may go down in the books as 2014’s most pitifully beloved franchise performance. Yes, it’s got many more international markets to go, but “The Muppets” aren’t as adored globally as they are at home. Disney will need to address this franchise asap, because they paid a shit ton of money for the rights several years ago and theatrically at least, it hasn’t paid off.
Not much of a shocker considering its measly performance last weekend, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Sabotage” fell nearly 70% and earned less than $2 million in its second weekend of release. Considering Arnold’s last two movies were basically flops stateside—the “Last Stand” was D.O.A. ($12 million domestically) and his Stallone team-up “Escape Plan” didn’t do much better at home ($25 million total), it might be safe to say that Schwarzenegger’s comeback attempt as an action star with U.S. audiences is basically finished. Sure, “Escape Plan” did well overall with international audiences (who apparently will go see anything), but how many black eyes can he take at home? One has to wonder if the producers of “Terminator: Genesis” will be happy to include him only to help jumpstart the new franchise, but then ditch him if and when it takes off.
Rounding out the top 10, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" ($225 million worldwide and going is nothing to worry about, we smell sequel), "Non-Stop" (likely going to hit the $200 million mark worldwide; Liam Neeson's action status remains the one Arnie wishes he had), and "Need for Speed" (still doing rather unremarkably at home, it has at least slowly crawled to $40 domestically and $130 worldwide). Other milestones to make note of: "Frozen" surpassed "The Dark Knight Rises" as the ninth highest grossing film of all time and it's now the second highest grossing animated movie overseas (and it should be able to overtake the “Ice Age: Continental Drift” top slot soon enough). "300: Rise Of An Empire" cracked the $300 million mark worldwide and "The Lego Movie" surpassed $400 million. As for the limited release market, Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Glazer scored. Their terrific collaboration "Under The Skin" scored the second highest limited release opening this year after "The Grand Budapest Hotel." The picture grossed $140,000 in 4 theaters for a per screen average of $35,000.
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $96.2M
2. Noah – $17M ($72M)
3. Divergent – $13 M ($114M)
4. God’s Not Dead – $7.7M ($33.1M)
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel $6.3M ($33.6M)
6. Muppets Most Wanted $6.2M ($42.1M)
7. Mr. Peabody And Sherman – $5.3M ($102.2M)
8. Sabotage $1.9M ($8.6M)
9. Need for Speed – $1.83 ($40.8M)
10. Non-Stop – $1.82M ($88.2M)