‘Captain America’ Sequel's Massive $37 Million Friday Gives It Shot at $100 Million

'Captain America' Sequel's Massive $37 Million Friday Gives It Shot at $100 Million

Disney's Marvel superhero saga “The Winter Soldier” is breaking the April record and gets an “A” CinemaScore

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was on a record-breaking tear at the box office Saturday, after posting a huge $37 million Friday that put it on track for a weekend total that could hit $100 million.

It's pacing to be the biggest April opening ever, ahead of the $86.1 million that “Fast Five” posted in 2011, and easily the year's top debut over the $69 million that “The Lego Movie” put up in February. And it will beat the opening of the last Marvel superhero sequel from Disney, “Thor: The Dark World,” which rolled out with $85.7 million in November. That one took in $31.9 million on its first day.

So the box-office momentum of “Marvel's the Avengers,” the 2012 blockbuster that's the third-highest grossing movie of all time, is still being felt in a major way. “Iron Man 3,” which opened to $178 million last May and went on to take in $1.2 billion worldwide benefited similarly.

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Whether the PG-13-rated “Winter Soldier” hits $100 million will depend on the extent to which word of mouth powers a Saturday turnout. First-night audiences gave it an “A” CinemaScore Friday and the critics are on board in a big way — 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — so it's not that long of a shot.

With 3D in roughly 80 percent of its market-high 3,938 theaters, 341 IMAX theaters and 316 Premium Large Format sites, “The Winter Soldier” was getting a boost from premium tickets. And $10.2 million of the Friday haul came from Thursday night screenings.

Chris Evans returns as Captain America and allies himself with Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow and Anthony Mackie's Falcon in the $170 million “Winter Soldier,” which also features Robert Redford as a shadowy bureaucrat. Joe and Anthony Russo direct, from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, while Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige again rides herd as a producer.

Also read: ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ Directors Reveal Three Movies That Inspired the Sequel

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was dominating.

Last weekend's No. 1 movie, Paramount's Russell Crowe Biblical epic “Noah,” was a distant second with $4.9 million from 3,571 theaters Friday. That projects to a nearly $17 million second week for director Darren Aronofsky's controversial take on the Old Testament tale, which would be a roughly 60 percent drop from its debut.

Lionsgate's young adult sci-fi tale “Divergent” was third on Friday with an estimated $4.1 million. That translates to a $13 million third week for the Shailene Woodley-Theo James adventure, which has taken in more than $100 million domestically.

“God's Not Dead” continues to show surprising staying power, after expanding by 587 theaters to 1,765 locations for its third week. The low-budget drama about a college student trying to convince his skeptical professor that there is a Deity brought in $2.2 million Friday and finished fourth for distributor Freestyle Releasing. That means it will wind up at around $8 million for the three days, which would put it over $30 million domestically.

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Fox Searchlight gave “The Grand Budapest Hotel” its widest run yet, adding 286 sites to bring the theater count to 1,263, and it brought in $1.8 million Friday. Writer-director Wes Anderson's R-rated ensemble comedy is looking at a three-day total of around $6.1 million. With $27 million domestically and another $45 million from overseas, it's the writer-director's highest grossing film with $72 million worldwide.

“Grand Budapest” will likely run behind Disney's “Muppets Most Wanted” and just ahead of “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” for the weekend. The “Muppets” sequel brought in $1.5 million and is looking at a $6.4 million three-day total that would raise its domestic total to $42 million after three weeks. DreamWorks Animation's “Mr. Peabody” rung up $1.3 million Friday and is on course for a $5.3 million fifth week that would lift over $100 million domestically for distributor Fox.

Liam Neeson's “Non-Stop,” Disney's “”Need For Speed” and “Sabotage” rounded out the top ten. Things didn't get any better for Arnold Schwarzenegger's action movie “Sabotage,” which dropped a whopping 69 percent from its limp opening last weekend, and may not clear $9 million after two weeks for Open Road Films.

  • Matt Clayton

    The numbers for “God's Not Dead” just have me shaking my head. One of the worst films of the year. There's a good story about theology vs. atheism, but this movie is certainly not it. The contempt this movie has for its non-Christian characters, whether it's a sarcastic atheist or intolerant Muslim father, is just sickening.

    And the various court rulings listed at the end of the movie, it just seems contradictory. I went to a private college, and nowhere did any of my professors say the kinds of things Kevin Sorbo's Radisson spouts. College is supposed to open up people's minds and get them thinking outside the box. And nowhere was I required to give up my personal beliefs or take on new ones… I had to sign an honor code, and that was it.

    The internal logic of this movie rings hollow and untrue.

  • thanks

    Things have changed since we were in college. You must accept the unacceptable today or the intolerant left will retaliate and try to ruin your life.