Disney’s Marvel superhero movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier soared to record-breaking heights at the weekend box office.
The film, which is the sequel to 2011′s Captain America: First Avenger and the ninth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe earned a gripping $96.2 million. That qualifies as April’s biggest opening ever beating out the 2011 action film Fast & Furious 5 ($86.1 million). The number also tops this year’s The Lego Movie, which earned $69 million in February and Disney’s last Marvel superhero film 2013′s Thor: The Dark World, which premiered to an eye-popping 85.7 million.
The critics have been kind to The Winter Soldier, with 89 percent of reviewers recommending it. The film stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Anthony Mackie and features Robert Redford in a part that plays homage to his roles in 1970s thrillers such as Three Days of the Condor. Joe and Anthony Russo directed the movie, which cost $170 million to make and made its debuted in 3,938 theaters, many of which were 3D.
Its predecessor, Captain America: The First Avenger debuted to over $65 million and ultimately went on to earn $176.6 million.
Captain America is the latest to prosper from the 2012 comic book ensemble The Avengers, which earned $623 million in 2012 and has supported continuing tales from the all-star team, which includes Thor and Iron Man.
uMeanwhile, Darren Aronofsky’s controversial take on the Old Testament story Noah sailed to a distant second with $17 million. That puts Paramount’s and New Regency’s water effects-laden film, which stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson at a domestic total of $72.3 million.
The biblical saga qualified as the biggest opening ever for Crowe as a leading man, ahead of Gladiator and Robin Hood and was also the biggest debut for Aronofsky.
Coming in third was Lionsgate’s dystopian young adult adaptation Divergent starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd and Kate Winslet. The Neil Burger-directed film added another $13 million to its domestic total of $114 million. Its success has led Lionsgate, which previously released both the Twilight and The Hunger Games series, to green light a second and third film in the series.
After expanding to 1,765 locations in its third week, the low budget faith-based film God’s Not Dead continued along its fervent path earning another $7.7 million to finish fourth for distributor Freestyle Releasing. The Christian drama centering on a young college student who debates his atheistic professor about the existence of God stars Shane Harper, Kevin Sorbo, Jim Gleason and Dean Cain.
And in 1,263 theaters, Fox Searchlight’s Wes Anderson-directed ensemble film The Grand Budapest Hotel had its widest expansion yet grossing another $6.3 million to land in fifth place this week. That number now puts the quirky comedy at $33.3 million domestically, Anderson’s highest grossing film to date.
Next up was Disney’s PG-rated Muppets Most Wanted. The comedy caper starring Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell grossed another $6.2 million putting the sequel to 2011′s The Muppets at a domestic total of $42 million.
The Dreamworks Animation/20th Century Fox 3D animated Mr. Peabody & Sherman directed by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) followed to land at seventh earning another $5.3 million.
But the Arnold Schwarzenegger action thriller Sabotage didn’t fare any better after its lifeless opening last weekend. Open Road’s drug bust-gone wrong film, which also stars Malin Ackerman and Sam Worthington, added just $1.9 million to its $8.7 million domestic total.
The film is the follow-up to director David Ayer’s End of Watch, which was made for $7 million and earned a hefty $41 million for the studio.
Rounding out the top ten for the weekend was Dreamwork’s video game adaptation Need for Speed and the Liam Neeson thriller Non-Stop both earning $1.8 million.
Also in limited release this weekend was Fox Searchlight’s Dom Hemingway, which debuted in four locations, CBS Films’ Afflicted and Island of Lemurs: Madagascar.
(via Studio Systems News)