Weekend Box Office: ‘Captain America’ breaks April record

As long as the movie looks exciting, the release date won’t impact its ability to pull incredible numbers. Such is the case with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which opened to a capital $95 million, is easily a new record for the month of April, over Fast Five ($86.2M in 2011). This also marks nearly a 48 percent improvement over the first Captain, showing not only the goodwill of the first film but also the Avengers boost.

Since the record-breaking run of The Avengers, subsequent films from Marvel Studios have each had a boost over their prior film. Iron Man 3 finished with an incredible $409M and Thor: The Dark World just finished its run with $206.3M.

It’s also helped that Disney and Marvel Studios are now more confident in differentiating their franchises: the Thor sequel was able to go further down the path of being a sci-fi fantasy and no more was that shown than with this release. Trailers did a great job of showing not only an action-packed adventure, but also one with elements of espionage, political thrills and globe-trotting missions.

The new characters introduced were also more exciting than the other post-Avengers films, ranging from the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), the enigmatic Winter Soldier (no need for spoilers) and even the presence of Hollywood legend Robert Redford built a good bit of buzz. It’s practically the first true summer blockbuster of the year — although it bears mentioning the silliness of this being a summer film even though we’re only two weeks into spring.

If it follows the legs of Thor: The Dark World, it’s practically guaranteed a $230M+ finish. It has no direct competition until  in May and with a 89% Rotten Tomatoes rating, we could be looking at utter domination on the part of the patriotic Avenger. Not only that, but it’s done much better overseas, having already topped its predecessor’s overseas total. It’s not likely to match the other superhero films though: some markets still haven’t warmed up to the character because he’s so jingoistic — the man’s costume is literally the American flag.  Still a big improvement though.

Noah dropped to second place but it didn’t do so gracefully, falling 61.1 percent to $17M for a total of $72.34M. While it’ll likely finish matching its budget, and will likely have a great run overseas, the changes it made to the source material were too polarizing and the mixed word-of-mouth from audiences who weren’t expecting this approach is likely the culprit.

Summit Entertainment has to be happy with the legs Divergent has shown, at least in comparison to other young-adult adaptations. The sci-fi feature fell a relatively modest 49.3 percent to $13M for a total of $114M, surpassing its budget, which must make the producers happy about moving forward with the two sequels. It’s done hardly any business internationally however; the overseas market is very fickle when it comes to science fiction and it seems the film hasn’t yet caught fire.

God’s Not Dead continues to define the odds, having yet another light drop of 12.2 percent to $7.8M and a total of $32.6M. The Christian-geared film covered its budget in the first weekend so everything from this point is profit. And the film’s buzz likely won’t be going away too soon: Kevin Sorbo, the star of the film, is crowdsourcing a tele-production about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia doctor who last year was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and a number of other atrocities in his back-alley abortion clinic. This will only boost the profile of Sorbo and will create subsequent buzz for God’s Not Dead among its core audience, as both pro-lifers and pro-choicers have used Dr. Gosnell for their own political points. However, it will face competition by another faith-based film, Heaven Is For Real, which comes out April 16.