News

‘Captain America’ sets box office record

‘Captain America’ sets box office record

BOX OFFICER RECORD-BREAKER:This image released by Marvel shows Chris Evans, left, and Scarlett Johansson in a scene from "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Photo: Associated Press

By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the sequel to Marvel’s 2011 film about the red, white and blue superhero, smashed its way to $96.2 million in weekend ticket sales, setting a new record for an April release and speeding past last week’s winner, “Noah.”

In the process, it also validated the strategy of the film’s distributor, Walt Disney Co, to ramp up its pipeline of films featuring super heroes made famous by bashing bad guys in Marvel Comics.

“Captain America,” which stars Chris Evans as a scrawny World War Two reject given super powers from an experimental serum, easily exceeded the April take for the racing movie “Fast Five,” which collected $86.2 million in ticket sales in April 2011.

REVIEW: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

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 ticket sales of $409 million, according to the site Box Office Mojo.

In 2012, “Marvel’s The Avengers” was the third-biggest film in Hollywood history, with $623.4 million in domestic sales and $1.5 billion worldwide.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is “a safe bet” to pass $250 million, said Box Office Mojo.

Disney takes advantage of each hit by spinning it through its sprawling network of theme parks, TV studio and consumer products units. The movies sell well on DVD, and Disney will generate hefty revenue from sales of “Captain America” t-shirts, lunch boxes and action figures.

The company is also making four original live-action TV series for Netflix that will begin streaming next year.

“When you put the name Marvel on a movie, we think that it gives us essentially a head start with the audience,” Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger told analysts during a conference call in February.

“Noah,” starring Russell Crowe as the biblical figure, was second with $17 million in ticket sales from Friday to Sunday.

The dystopian action film “Divergent” was third with $13 million, for a total of $114 million since its March 21 release in U.S. and Canadian theaters.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” also scored the biggest opening weekend of 2014, and took in another $9.6 million at IMAX screenings, for which moviegoers a premium. That also set a new April record.

“I would certainly expect we can broaden out” beyond the usual Marvel film buyers, said Dave Hollis, Walt Disney Studios’ executive vice president of film distribution. Hollis noted that some 90 percent of critics gave positive notices as collated by the Rotten Tomatoes website and audiences rated the film an A.

Fourth for the weekend, with sales of $7.7 million, was the independently released Christian drama “God’s Not Dead,” which continued its impressive run despite being panned by critics.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” rounded out the top five, taking in $6.3 million. Starring Ralph Fiennes as a scheming concierge and directed by Wes Anderson, the film started slowly, playing in only four theaters on March 7 and has grown steadily. It is currently playing in 1,263 theaters.

Disney distributed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” “Noah” was released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom.

Lionsgate distributed “Divergent.” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was released by Fox Searchlight, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox. “God’s Not Dead” was distributed by Freestyle Releasing.

(Reporting By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Paul Simao)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Oct. 20

madonna

A look back at the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

in Sports

SNF on KPUG: Manning breaks Favre’s TD mark in 42-17

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) warms up prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Houston Texans, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, in Denver.

He surpassed Favre's mark with an 8-yard strike to Demaryius Thomas late in the second quarter. As he went to retrieve the football, his teammates decided to have some fun.

in Local Sports

Sounders rally for 2-2 tie with LA Galaxy

Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid applauds as he leaves the field after the first game of the Western Conference semifinals in the MLS Cup soccer playoffs against the Portland Timbers, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, in Seattle. The Timbers won 2-1 in the first of the two-game aggregate playoff series.

Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle scored in the second half, rallying the Seattle Sounders to a 2-2 tie with the LA Galaxy on Sunday night.

in Local Sports

Bellingham beats Orcas Island

football helmet

The Red Raiders have won four straight games for the first time since 2008.

in Sports

NFL week 7 scoreboard

A football before the first half of an NFL preseason football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis.

All the scores from around the National Football League