Weekend Wrap-Up

The Winter Soldier Freezes Rio 2

By John Hamann

April 13, 2014

He's using a bionic arm. That's cheating!

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Three new movies debuted this weekend, and for a time it looked like one of them would unseat the reigning champion. Alas, the weekend hold of Friday's #1 film was for the birds. Because of that, Captain America: The Winter Soldier remains the number one theater in North America this weekend, as well as the rest of the world.

There was definitely cause for excitement heading into the second weekend of April. The box office weekend provided no respite from Captain America’s stunning $95 million opening frame; instead, studios unleashed an animated sequel in Rio 2, a low-budget but well reviewed horror flick in Oculus, and what seems like the 15th Kevin Costner movie released in the last year, Draft Day. Normally, I would assume the weekend would belong to the Captain America sequel, but without an animated product since March 7th’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman, the market was ripe for a kids’ domination-type weekend. Fox was smart to release Rio 2 now, as the film is now in prime position to take advantage of Good Friday and the rest of Easter weekend.

While Rio 2 won the battle on Friday, Marvel's marvelous Captain America: The Winter Soldier wins the war. That means Marvel’s marvelous Captain America: Winter Soldier repeats as winner for the second time domestically and the third weekend internationally. The blockbuster actually held decently this weekend, earning $41.4 million and dropping 56%. I call that drop decent because the follow-up weekend had to compete against a three and a half day weekend in the last frame. Remember that Captain America enjoyed $10.2 million in ticket sales on its first Thursday night. The Winter Soldier crossed the $100 million mark on Monday, its fourth day of release, the same amount of time it took films like Spider-Man 2 and Despicable Me 2 to reach the same mark.


The news for Captain America: The Winter Soldier is amazing across the board. After 10 days of release, it has already grossed $159 million domestically. Consider that Captain America: The First Avenger grossed $176 million during its entire domestic run. The Winter Soldier will have reached that total by next Friday, its 15th day in theaters. Globally, the numbers are even more stunning. The Captain America sequel has garnered $317 million overseas, a total that not only dwarfs the original Captain America's $194 million international take, but is also better than each of the first two Iron Man movies. After only 10 days in domestic release, The Winter Soldier is already within $170 million of the final worldwide box office total of Thor: The Dark World. It should match that total by the end of June. Despite the massive success of The LEGO Movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is already the #1 global release of 2014 by $60 million and growing.

Rio 2, the sequel to the 2011 release from Fox and Blue Sky Studios, will make these companies fairly happy this weekend. Despite the massiveness of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Rio 2 was still able to effectively match the original Rio’s $39.2 million opening weekend. The original had a first Friday gross of $10.3 million, so to achieve a $12 million first Friday for the sequel seemed like good news. The original Rio had an internal weekend multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday gross) of 3.8, which indicates the audience was young, and the animated film had a larger gross on Sunday than it did on Friday. The same did not hold true for the sequel. Both films were released over the same weekend in April. Rio 2 pulled in $39 million for the weekend, giving it an internal multiplier of 3.25. The multiplier is alarming news for the studio, as the sequel effect was in full force here. This effect is defined by a sequel doing big business on Friday (due to pre-awareness), and then the box office declines as the weekend goes on.

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