Weekend Box Office (April 18 - 20, 2014)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND The Easter frame saw a menu of new releases debut but audiences still made the super hero juggernaut Captain America: The Winter Soldier the top attraction as the Marvel man spent his third consecutive weekend at number one. The Disney release had a nice hold dipping 38% to $25.6M, according to final studio figures, joining the double century club in the process with a cume to date of $200.5M.

Soldier is the second biggest blockbuster of 2014 trailing the $252.3M of The LEGO Movie which also happens to have threepeated. A final domestic haul north of $250M seems likely. Captain America has just under two weeks of playtime left before The Amazing Spider-Man 2 kicks off the North American summer movie season on Thursday night, May 1, with 7:00pm shows.

Worldwide, Winter Soldier has smashed the $500M mark and is already closing in on $600M. Overseas markets brought in an estimated $35.3M boosting the international tally to $385.1M and the global haul to $586M which is double the take of the first Captain America with plenty more to go as Japan just opened this weekend. China leads offshore markets by a mile with an incredible $98.4M.

Second place saw a terrific debut from this year's latest faith-based hit Heaven Is For Real which beat expectations to score $22.5M over the weekend and a sensational $29.6M over the five days since its Wednesday release. Timed to enter the marketplace just ahead of Easter, the PG-rated film generated the best average of any wide release with $9,318 from 2,417 locations over the Friday-to-Sunday span. The mid-week launch got word-of-mouth going, Good Friday saw numbers skyrocket, and Easter Sunday delivered solid sales too.

The Sony release targeted its audience well and they came out. Heaven's domestic gross has already more than doubled its low $12M production cost and its marketing spend is likely to be well under that of other films that open at the $20M range. The uplifting drama saw an audience that skewed 62% female and 51% over 35. Customers liked what they got as evidenced by the A CinemaScore grade. Add in recent faith-based hits Son of God, God's Not Dead, and Noah and the four films will combine to collect over $300M.

Dropping a notch to third place was the animated comedy Rio 2 which fell 44% in its sophomore frame to $22.2M boosting the cume to $75M. That was higher than the 33% decline that the first Rio witnessed in its second weekend in 2011 which was also helped by Easter. For a sequel, the larger drop was normal and the ten-day tally is just under that film's $80.8M. Rio 2 may finish its domestic run in the $130-140M range.

Johnny Depp failed to bring out audiences to his new sci-fi thriller Transcendence which flopped in fourth with an opening of $10.9M from 3,455 locations for a dismal $3,151 average. It was far worse than the $27.5M opening of last May's sci-fi disaster After Earth and fell below the $12.7M of non-starter R.I.P.D. and even the $16.5M of Depp's underperformer The Tourist. Transcendence failed on all fronts as it was panned by critics and earned a lousy CinemaScore C+ grade from paying audiences. Christopher Nolan's long-time cinematographer Wally Pfister made his directing debut here.

Studio research from Warner Bros. showed that 56% of the movie fans that did actually show up were male and 56% were over 25. The PG-13 tale of a genius scientist who is uploaded into a supercomputer never gained much audience interest in the weeks leading up to release. Depp's starpower meant nothing as fans rejected a poorly-reviewed film that did not seem fun to them. The good news for the film is that it may still become a major awards contender - for next year's Razzies.

The spoof comedy sequel A Haunted House 2 attracted only half of the audience of its predecessor and landed in fifth with $8.8M. The Marlon Wayans pic averaged a mild $3,829 from 2,310 locations and did not generate the same audience excitement as the first House which opened to $18.1M in January of last year.

Kevin Costner's latest film Draft Day dropped a moderate 42% in its second weekend to $5.7M. The Lionsgate release has still only grossed $19.4M to date and looks to finish with a disappointing $30M or so. The distributor's sci-fi film Divergent followed closely with $5.6M, off only 24% showing good legs once again. Total so far is $133.8M.

Oculus saw a normal horror fall dropping 57% in its second weekend to $5.2M for a $21.1M sum overall. Relativity may find its way to about $30M by the end of the run. Paramount's epic Noah grossed $5M, down 34%, for a $93.3M cume. Global gross is up to $290.7M.

Disney saw a soft opening at number ten for its latest nature documentary Bears which bowed to $4.8M from 1,720 locations for a dull $2,777 average. The performance came in well below the debuts of the studio's other docs released around Earth Day like Chimpanzee which bowed to $10.7M and African Cats which was released in far fewer theaters but still debuted to $6M and an average near $5,000.

The arthouse comedy Fading Gigolo got off to a solid start grossing $180,801 from only five sites for a strong $36,160 average. The Millennium release was directed by John Turturro and stars Woody Allen, Turturro, and a handful of other stars. Reviews were mixed and the R-rated film expands to about 25 screens next weekend.

The top ten films grossed $116.3M which was down 16% from last year's Easter frame which was in late March when G.I. Joe: Retaliation 2 opened at number one with $40.5M; but up 1% from 2012's holiday when The Hunger Games remained on top for a third time with $33.1M.

Compared to projections, Heaven Is For Real rose higher than my $16M prediction while Transcendence came in well below my $25M forecast. A Haunted House 2 and Bears both debuted a bit below my projections of $14M and $7M, respectively.

Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.

Watch the NEW trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past.

For a review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Brick Mansions, The Quiet Ones, and The Other Woman all open.

# Title Apr 18 - 20 Apr 11 - 13 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Captain America: The Winter Soldier $ 25,587,056 $ 41,274,861 -38.0 3,825 3 $ 6,689 $ 200,501,510 Disney
2 Heaven Is For Real 22,522,221 2,417 1 9,318 29,556,414 Sony
3 Rio 2 22,159,742 39,327,869 -43.7 3,975 2 5,575 75,045,122 Fox
4 Transcendence 10,886,386 3,455 1 3,151 10,886,386 Warner Bros.
5 A Haunted House 2 8,843,875 2,310 1 3,829 8,843,875 Open Road
6 Draft Day 5,713,076 9,783,603 -41.6 2,781 2 2,054 19,360,863 Lionsgate
7 Divergent 5,611,624 7,380,460 -24.0 2,486 5 2,257 133,776,491 Lionsgate
8 Oculus 5,156,880 12,005,402 -57.0 2,648 2 1,947 21,146,271 Relativity
9 Noah 5,003,303 7,553,607 -33.8 2,537 4 1,972 93,277,129 Paramount
10 Bears 4,776,267 1,720 1 2,777 4,776,267 Disney
11 God's Not Dead 4,646,762 5,540,678 -16.1 1,796 5 2,587 48,172,075 Freestyle
12 The Grand Budapest Hotel 3,415,528 4,069,245 -16.1 1,280 7 2,668 44,964,929 Fox Searchlight
13 2 States 1,073,898 135 1 7,955 1,073,898 UTV
14 Muppets Most Wanted 1,057,265 2,275,944 -53.5 929 5 1,138 48,307,818 Disney
15 Mr. Peabody & Sherman 788,223 1,872,803 -57.9 780 7 1,011 107,164,804 Fox
16 Under the Skin 422,607 309,248 36.7 176 3 2,401 1,041,475 A24
17 The LEGO Movie 399,466 502,033 -20.4 340 11 1,175 252,259,056 Warner Bros.
18 Non-Stop 379,270 750,225 -49.4 360 8 1,054 90,147,130 Universal
19 The Raid 2 363,672 956,672 -62.0 539 4 675 2,219,261 Sony Classics
20 The Lunchbox 349,663 283,903 23.2 158 8 2,213 2,220,609 Sony Classics
Top 5 $ 89,999,280 $ 109,945,342 -18.1
Top 10 116,260,430 131,084,472 -11.3
Top 20 129,156,784 136,342,933 -5.3
Top 20 vs. Easter 2013 129,156,784 143,054,611 -9.7

Last Updated: April 26, 2014 at 10:15PM ET

Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Thursday at 6:40pm ET.

©1997 - 2014 Box Office Guru