Marvel’s red-white-and-blue superhero soared to a second straight box-office win in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, ousting the new animated movie Rio 2, the story of a family of Brazilian birds on a trip to the Amazon. Walt Disney Co’s Captain America, broke BO records when it opened in the first week of April, and earned $41.4 million in the first weekend at U.S. and Canadian theaters. The Rio sequel from 20th Century Fox debuted with $39 million in ticket sales, according to estimates from tracking firm Rentrak.
Low-budget horror flick Oculus, the latest from Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum, was the third highest grosser, earning $12 million. Ahead of the weekend, box-office forecasters had predicted a close battle between Captain America and Rio, with each taking in $40 million-plus.
Rio 2 is a sequel to a 2011 film about a vibrantly coloured family of rare macaw birds in Brazil. Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway provide voices for the avian parents who take their family to the Amazon in search of a possible colony of their critically endangered brothers and sisters. Global sales for the film, which cost $103 million to make, reached $164 million by Sunday, according to Fox.
“Our target was to equal the first one, and that’s what we did,” said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox, referring to Rio, which took in $39.2 million on its opening weekend.
Aronson said the film was positioned well going forward as well, with spring break and school holidays in the coming weeks.
“No other animated film (opening) is scheduled to release for nine weeks, so it gives us a nice long runway,” he said, adding that the film was playing better than expected, especially with African-American and Hispanic audiences thronging the theatres.
Captain America, stars Chris Evans as a scrawny World War Two reject, who gets super powers after being injected with an experimental serum, is the latest superhero hit from Disney’s Marvel Studios. The film has earned a total of $476 million internationally, validating the strategy of distributor Disney to ramp up its pipeline of films featuring Marvel Comics super heroes.
Since Disney bought Marvel for $4 billion in 2009, Marvel characters have starred in some of Hollywood’s biggest hits. Iron Man 3 was last year’s second-highest grossing film with domestic sales of $409 million, while Marvel’s 2012 release, The Avengers was the third-biggest film in Hollywood history, with $623.4 million in domestic sales and $1.5 billion worldwide.
Oculus, distributed by Relativity Media, stars British actress Karen Gillan as a young woman who is convinced an ornate mirror in her home is haunted. Like Blum’s other horror hits, it cost less than $5 million to make. Relativity paid $2.5 million for rights to distribute the film in the United States and Canada.
Football drama Draft Day grossed $9.75 million. The movie stars Kevin Costner as fictional Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver Jr., who races the clock to manoeuver for the best players while dealing with upheaval in his personal life. Several scenes were filmed during last year’s real-life NFL draft. Rounding out the top five, the dystopian action film Divergent pulled in $7.5 million. Its worldwide grosses have reached $175 million. Both the films, Draft Day and Divergent were released by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
Paul Walker’s brothers to fill in for late actor in Fast …
The brothers of actor Paul Walker, who passed away in November, will fill in for the late action star in order to complete scenes in the upcoming film Fast & Furious 7, according to a statement posted on the film’s Facebook page. Caleb and Cody Walker will help finish action scenes for their brother and, “fill in small gaps left in production,” the statement said. Walker, 40, died on November 30 in a fiery one-car crash in Santa Clarita, California, northwest of Los Angeles. “Having them on set has made us all feel that Paul is with us, too,” the statement said. Walker was on a break from filming Fast & Furious 7 at the time of his death, which led to a temporary halt in production.
The actor had become an emblem of street racing and car culture in the role of law enforcement officer Brian O’Conner in five of the six Fast & Furious films about illegal street racing, heists and organised crime. Universal Pictures, which is owned by Comcast, subsequently pushed back the release of the seventh installment of the highly lucrative franchise by nine months to April 2015.Walker’s penultimate film role was in Brick Mansions, which will be released in U.S. theaters on April 25.