Captain America: A Strong Spring Solider at the Box Office
By John Hamann
April 6, 2014
If we strip out the Thursday preview amount from the Friday figure, we get a truer Friday number of $26.8 million. That true Friday number helps set the baseline for the rest of the weekend. The Saturday number for Captain America 2 came in at a very impressive $34.6 million. Marvel and Disney would have been hoping for a number on Saturday that matched the combined Thursday/Friday number. Thor: The Dark World had a combined Thursday/Friday of $31.9 million and then earned $32.1 million on Saturday, on its way to an $85.7 million opening weekend. Thor: The Dark World had an internal weekend multiplier – with the Thursday night showings included – of 2.7. If - and it was a big "if" due to the apparent front-loading of the Thursday night screenings - Captain America: The Winter Soldier could match that multiplier, the weekend take would come in just shy of $100 million.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier finished the weekend with an absolutely fantastic three-day gross of $96.2 million from 3,938 venues for Disney and Marvel. It had a venue average of $24,429, which makes exhibitors very happy in April, and had a weekend multiplier (Thursday included) of 2.6. Thor, Captain America and The Hulk were once considered the weaker sisters in the Marvel lineup, but now with a $85.7 million opening for Thor: The Dark World, and $96.2 million for the Captain America sequel, one has to wonder just where Avengers: Age of Ultron will open. The trend says bigger, but one has to wonder where the limit is. The first Avengers opened to $207.4 million, and at the time, the second biggest opener ever was way back at $169.2 million. Can Age of Ultron open to 30% more than the original? Does my head explode when I think about the possibility? Almost.
The Winter Solider cost Disney and Marvel $170 million to bring to the screen. I often think that a film needs to make three times that amount – in this case a half billion – worldwide, to recoup the production budget and worldwide marketing costs. That may be a little high in this scenario - $400 million is likely a more apt figure. Thor: The Dark World earned $645 million worldwide, but, like Thor, the first Captain America wasn’t as popular overseas, with $176.7 million domestically and $194 million from international venues. While true, I think the trend upwards is much steeper for these lesser-known Marvel characters, thanks to the huge popularity of the Avengers. We know that Thor went from $268.3 million overseas to $438.4 million for the sequel. Already, The Winter Solider has already beaten the original overseas with $207 million so far ($107 million this weekend alone), and I am going to assume that this sequel matches or beats that of The Dark World overseas. I see it making at least $450 million overseas, and at least another $275 million stateside. Kudos again to Marvel for making great original films, and following those movies up with great sequels. This is the golden age of the comic book movie, and is a great time indeed.
There were other movies in release this weekend. Second spot goes to Noah, last weekend’s number one at an okay $43.7 million. With the good Captain on board, Noah got pushed out of the big theaters and into the shadows - and gets kicked in the pocket book in the process. Noah earned only $17 million and dropped an alarming 61% compared to its debut frame. Given the C Cinemascore and the fact that curious audiences showed up over opening weekend, Noah was destined to fall heavily. Positioning it behind a Marvel release wasn’t smart. Other studios shied away from releasing anything this weekend against Captain America, but that strategy should change to not releasing $125 million films the weekend before a Marvel release.