Captain America ‘plexes his muscle: ‘Winter Soldier’ sequel sets April record with $96M debut


Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” (AP/Marvel-Disney)

MARVEL HEROES continue to mint money with each new rollout.

This time, it’s Cap who’s back to conquer America, as his sequel “The Winter Soldier” grossed $96.2-million in the weekend North American market, according to studio box-office estimates Sunday — giving it the biggest domestic debut ever in April.

The April record-holder had been 2011′s “Fast Five” with an $86.2-million opening.

“The Winter Soldier” — which returns Chris Evans as the Joe Simon/Jack Kirby “man out of time” superhero — also topped 2011′s original Captain America film, “The First Avenger,” which had a $65-million debut. “Winter Soldier” co-stars Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford and Samuel L. Jackson.

[JOE SIMON: Remembering the legendary 'Captain America' co-creator]

“For ‘The Winter Soldier’ to push on $100-million in April shows that you can release a big movie any time of the year,” Paul Dergarabedian, of the box office- tracking Rentrak, told the Associated Press.

By grossing $203.3-million globally this weekend, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” — which reportedly cost $170-million to produce — has now pulled in more than $300-million worldwide.

The brand’s “halo effect” continues as every Marvel Studios film has been a hit; every Marvel sequel surpasses its predecessor; and every Marvel movie seems bolstered by “The Avengers,” which of course assembled Cap, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye as it set the record for a domestic debut ($207-million).

FUN WITH NUMBERS

* “The Winter Soldier” easily bested Marvel’s preceding release, “Thor: The Dark World,” which opening last year with $86-million.

* “Winter Soldier” had the 11th-best domestic debut ever for a superhero film, slotting in right behind Paramount’s original “Iron Man” ($98.6-million) — and the eighth-biggest opening for a Marvel superhero.

“Winter Soldier,” which opened domestically on nearly 4,000 screens, grossed $10.2 million from Thursday-night shows.

* Elsewhere, “Frozen” moved past “The Dark Knight Rises” and is now the ninth-biggest film ever in global gross (not adjusted for inflation), with $1.097-billion, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

[BOX OFFICE: 'Frozen' is now officially your biggest animated film ever]

The weekend’s top-10 films in U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak, based on studio estimates:
1.”Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” $96.2 million.
2.”Noah,” $17 million.
3.”Divergent,” $13 million.
4.”God’s Not Dead,” $7.7 million.
5. ”The Grand Budapest Hotel,” $6.3 million.
6.”Muppets Most Wanted,” $6.3 million.
7. ”Mr. Peabody and Sherman,” $5.3 million.
8.”Sabotage,” $1.9 million.
9.”Need for Speed,” $1.84 million.
10.”Non-Stop,” $1.83 million.

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