Marvel's latest juggernaut "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (Buena Vista) replicated its one-week earlier initial overseas success with a domestic take of $37,041,000 yesterday, a record for an April opening day. This is just under $3 million better than the previous best April first day achieved by the non-3D "Fast Five" (2011), with the take including $10.2 million for Thursday evening shows.
The Marvel franchise, spread out over multiple characters and studios, has had seven previous entries gross $90 million or more for their opening weekends, but impressively for this "Captain America" sequel, all of the earlier ones were released in the usually more lucrative May-July period. The likely $90 million-plus weekend total this time will outpace the initial series entry ("Captain America: The First Avenger") which took in $65 million for its opening in July 2011, and top the most recent Marvel entry, "Thor: The Dark World," which grossed $85.7 million for its start last November.
The success for the top film masks weakness for most of the rest of the top 10 which, combined, only grossed $17 million. At #2, last Friday's #1 film "Noah" (Paramount) did $4.9 million, $10 million less than its first day gross last week. #3 "Divergent" (Lionsgate) fell 50% at $4.2 million in its third week, now over $100 million but showing some signs of holding less well than hoped. Two more limited films that have been thriving follow, with the sleeper hit "God's Not Dead" (Freestyle) at #4 at $2.2 million, dropping only slightly with the help of 580 new theaters (now at 1,758). #5 "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Fox Searchlight) added just under 300 theaters (to reach 1,263) to gross $1.8 million, down about 25% from last Friday. Both films look to pass $50 million before they are through.
Two kids' oriented films placed #6 and 7, with "Muppets Most Wanted" (Buena Vista) taking in $1.5 million and "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" (20th Century-Fox) at $1.3 million. Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Sabotage" fell more than 70% from its soft opening to take #8 at only $568,000, just edging out #9 "Non-Stop" (Universal) and #10 "Need for Speed" (Buena Vista), both above $500,000.
Among limited openings, Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin" (A24) starring Scarlett Johannson, boosted by positive reviews, took in a strong $49,000 in only 4 theaters, looking to be (although not remotely at the same level) the biggest specialized opening so far this year after "The Grand Budapest Hotel."