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 Local Sports

Royals shut down Mariners

Seattle Mariners' Nelson Cruz gets ready to bat during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the San Diego Padres Thursday, March 5, 2015, in Peoria, Ariz.

Kansas City's Ventura holds Seattle to one-hit game in 5-1 victory

in Sports

Louisville and Michigan State on to Elite 8

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino gestrues to his team during the second half of an NCAA tournament college basketball game against UC Irvine in the Round of 64 in Seattle, Friday, March 20, 2015. Louisville beat UC Irvine 57-55.

Montrezl Harrell scored 24 points/Denzel Valentine scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half

in Sports

Gonzaga and Duke headed to Elite Eight

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few watches during a practice session for a college basketball regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Houston. Gonzaga plays UCLA on Friday, March 27, 2015.

Przemek Karnowski had 18 points and nine rebounds/Justise Winslow 21 points and 10 rebound

in National

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo, Amanda Knox prepares to leave the set following a television interview in New York. Knox is engaged to Colin Sutherland, a musician who recently moved to Seattle from New York, a person close to the Knox family confirmed for The Associated Press. Knox’s murder conviction in the 2007 stabbing of her roommate has been reinstated by an Italian court, but the former college exchange student maintains her innocence and vows she won’t willingly go back to Italy. Both Knox and Sutherland are 27. No wedding date had been set.

Italy's highest court has overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case.