‘Captain America’ Crushes Johnny Depp, Holds Off ‘Heaven Is for Real’ at Box Office

Superhero sequel crosses $200 million with third straight win as ‘Rio 2’ tops surging faith-based drama for second

Last Updated: August 4, 2014 @ 10:19 AM

A disembodied Johnny Depp in “Transcendence” proved no match for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” as Disney’s superhero sequel steamrolled the competition for its third straight box-office win this weekend.

The Marvel Comics-based thriller starring Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson brought in $26.6 million over the three days, raising its domestic total to $201.5 million and blasting past the $177 million total haul of the first “Captain America” movie in just just 15 days. That was enough to beat out Fox’s animated family film “Rio 2” at $22.5 million, as well as the surprising Christian drama “Heaven Is for Real.”

See video: Johnny Depp’s Extraordinary Career (Gone) in 60 Seconds: From Freddy Krueger to ‘Transcendence’

Starring Greg Kinnear as a small-town pastor whose son claims to have seen heaven after a near-death experience, Sony’s “Heaven Is for Real” was third for the weekend with $21.5 million and has taken in $28.5 million since opening Wednesday. It was the fourth faith-based film to score with moviegoers this year, coming on the heels of “Noah,” “God’s Not Dead” and “Son of God.”

The top three movies left Warner Bros.’ sci-fi tale “Transcendence” in the dust, and drove a busy Easter holiday weekend. Overall box office was up roughly 20 percent from the comparable weekend last year.

The thriller, in which Depp plays a scientist whose brain is uploaded to a computer after an attack by anti-tech radicals, opened to just $11.1 million over the three days and finished fourth. It was the fourth box-office flop in a row for Depp, who hasn’t had a hit since 2011’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” Since then, last summer’s “The Long Ranger,” 2012’s “Dark Shadows” and 2011’s “The Rum Diaries” have all been duds.

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The comedy “A Haunted House 2” opened in fifth with a disappointing $9,1 million for Open Road, while the DisneyNature documentary “Bears” cracked the top ten with a $4.8 million debut.

“Heaven Is for Real” drew an audience that was 62 percent female and 49 percent under the age of 35, and they loved it – giving it an “A” CinemaScore.

“I think the most significant thing here is that we connected with a mainstream crowd as well as faith-based audiences,” Sony’s head of distribution Rory Breuer told TheWrap. “I think people were drawn to the idea of real-life story that addresses a universal theme – the afterlife – and it sure didn’t hurt to have Greg Kinnear as our star.”

Expectations for “Transcendence, which was financed by Alcon Entertainment and and China’s DMG Entertainment to the tune of $100 million, were measured to begin with. But the PG-13-rated thriller — the directorial debut of Christopher Nolan‘s longtime cinematographer, Wally Pfister — came in nearly $10 million under pre-release projections.

Also read: ‘Heaven Is for Real’ Rides Faith-Based Wave to Big Easter Score at Box Office

The critics didn’t like “Transcendence” (19 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes) and moviegoers agreed, giving it just a “C+” CinemaScore. The audience it attracted – 56 percent male and 56 percent over the age of 25 – suggests Depp was not a draw for young women.

The opening for IM Global’s low-budget R-rated horror spoof “A Haunted House 2,” which stars Jaime Pressley and Marlon Wayans, was well below the $18 million debut of the original last year. That one went on top make $60 million worldwide – on a $2.5 million budget.

Summit Entertainment’s Kevin Costner football drama “Draft Day” held well in its second week, falling off just 40 percent to finish sixth with $5.9 million, raising its domestic total to nearly $20 million.

Also read: Why Sports Movies Like ‘Million Dollar Arm,’ ‘Draft Day’ Have Become Their Own Underdog Stories

And Summit’s teen sci-fi tale “Divergent” showed even more staying power. It took in $5.7 million — down just 22 percent from last week — to up its domestic total to $134 million in its fifth week.

“Noah” and “God’s Not Dead” finished ninth and tenth, to make it three movies targeting Christian audiences in the top ten.