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Box office report: 'Captain America' soars with $96.2 million weekend

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is yet another piece of evidence that Marvel’s formula for its behemoth superhero film franchise is exactly what audiences want.

The sequel to the 2011 original starring Chris Evans as the Super Soldier grossed an estimated $96.2 million this opening weekend, setting a record for best April opening and earning an “A” CinemaScore from its audiences. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Captain America' supersizes Friday's box office with $37 million

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is proving that a big shield is enough to conquer the box office, pulling in an estimated $37 million Friday night. The PG-13 film from Joe and Anthony Russo is already outpacing 2011’s original Captain America, which earned $25.7 million its first full day in release. The movie has also already nabbed $75 million from its international release and could get close to $100 million here in North America. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: How high will Marvel's 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' fly?

Comic book season is upon us, and there’s no turning back.

Disney and Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the (lucky?) first one out of the gates. As has become standard for Marvel releases, the question is not whether it will open at No. 1 (there aren’t even any other movies opening wide this weekend!), but just where it will fall on the golden brand’s sliding scale of successes and super-successes. Modern Marvel cinematic universe adaptations have opened anywhere from $65 million (Captain America: The First Avenger) to $207 million (The Avengers).

Here’s how things might play out, and let us know your predictions in the comments. READ FULL STORY

'Frozen' becomes the highest-grossing animated film of all time

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Disney’s animated megahit Frozen is officially the highest-grossing animated film of all time. After opening in Japan — its final market — this weekend, its total sales now reach $1.072 billion.

The tally bumps the fairy tale over Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3, which held the top spot since 2010, when that film grossed $1.063 billion. It is the first billion-dollar title from Disney Animation studios; domestic receipts of $398.4 million and $674 million internationally earned Frozen that distinction. In 27 territories, it is now the No. 1 Disney or Pixar film, which helped buoy it into the Top 10 of all films globally at the box office.

Frozen has also enjoyed critical success since opening in the U.S. in late November. Inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, the 3-D fantasy won Academy Awards for best animated film and original song. Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 18.

Box office report: 'Noah' wreaks Old Testament havoc on its competitors

Russell Crowe’s grungy beard — presumably as well as other elements of Noah — drew in $44 million this weekend, perching it atop a Mount Ararat of box office receipts with a moderately impressive sum by any measurement (including cubits). Darren Aronofsky’s Biblical bonanza took the No. 1 spot, knocking all the films from last week’s Top 5 down one slot. The theologically loose adaptation fared better than the last time Crowe went gallivanting around in a tunic, in 2010’s Robin Hood. (That period epic only made $36 million in its first weekend.) However, there wasn’t exactly a rainbow at the end of the storm, considering audiences gave Noah a “C” CinemaScore rating.

The Divergent Games: City of Bones — er, Divergent — couldn’t quite muster enough YA fandom or non-reader interest to push its to-date take over the $100 million mark. The fantasy drama sits comfortably in a distant second with $26.5 million for the weekend, making for a grand total of $95.3 million. With a reported budget of $85 million, this certainly isn’t a dystopian scenario for the proposed trilogy, but it is less than half of what both films in The Hunger Games series had made by the end of their second weekends. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Noah' floats with $15.2 million on Friday

Darren Aronofsky’s diluvian epic Noah attracted something between a trickle and a flood of moviegoers on Friday, earning the film $15.2 million in its first day of release. While Noah is an adaptation of the original disaster story, in which God plays Roland Emmerich and destroys pretty much everything in sight, the number puts Noah‘s draw closer to that of historical epics like star Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood than any of Emmerich’s big-budget catastrophe porn. It’s unclear whether the film managed to get Christian audiences (who made last week’s God’s Not Dead a sleeper hit) marching two-by-two into the cinemaplex or if news that Aronofsky was playing fast and loose with Old Testament mythology had kept them at bay.

Meanwhile, Divergent made $8.1 million on its second Friday, dropping a modest 64 percent. The hopeful YA franchise may not diverge too much in tone from its allegorical dystopian forebear The Hunger Games, but the numbers do: At this point, Divergent has made $76.9 million, whereas the first film adapted from Suzanne Collins’ trilogy had already taken in $208.6 million over nearly the exact same calendar days. Of course, $76.9 million in a week and a day is no small potatoes. It’s just not freakishly large genetically modified potatoes, either.

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Box office preview: Can 'Noah' build an opening of biblical proportions?

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After months of hand wringing and controversy, Darren Aronofsky’s CGI-happy Noah finally hits theaters this weekend.

Boasting an all-star cast, a patina of prestige and a wide release, there’s no doubt that the epic will open in first place. But coming on the heels of last weekend’s surprise success story God’s Not Dead, the Christian film that opened in fourth place at $9.2 million from just 780 screens, the question of the weekend is whether faith-based audiences will turn out to see just what Aronofsky has done with the story.

This weekend also provides a lot of interesting fodder to analyze, including Divergent‘s ability to hold its own after a robust, fan-driven opening weekend, whether or not The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s limited-release triumphs will translate into a mainstream hit, and how successful Pantelion’s grassroots Cesar Chavez marketing will be when it comes to getting audiences in the theaters.

Here’s how things might play out. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Divergent' heads straight for $56 million win; 'God's Not Dead' inspires $8.6 million

Divergent was dauntless at the box office this weekend, easily winning the top spot with an estimated $56 million. Meanwhile, the Muppets failed to take multiplexes in Muppets Most Wanted, earning $16.5 million, and the faith-based indie God’s Not Dead inspired an awesome $8.6 million from just 780 theaters.

Starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James as rebels in a dystopian future, the PG-13 action film Divergent aimed for the same moviegoers who gave The Hunger Games a surprise $152.5 million opening weekend in March, 2012. With a $56 million debut, Divergent didn’t reach those heights — and even fell slightly below the predictions of some analysts, who had pegged the movie for a $60 million-plus debut.

Like many buzzy films, it started strong out of the gate: A teen-targeted marketing blitz transformed the movie into an event for young fans, who turned out in droves for late-night Thursday screenings that grossed $4.9 million even before the official start of the weekend. Critical reaction has been lackluster, though the film earned a solid A CinemaScore and praise from EW’s Owen Gleiberman, who called it an “agreeably rousing, sensitive-teen-in-Amish-linen-finds-her-inner-tattooed-jock-to-fight-the-power formula dystopian thriller.” Regardless, a sequel, Insurgent, has already been greenlit by Lionsgate for release on  March 20, 2015. The trilogy’s finale, Allegiant, is scheduled for March 18, 2016, showing Hollywood’s continued faith in spring as a box-office launchpad after the success of recent March hits like The Hunger Games ($408 million total) and Oz the Great and Powerful ($234 million). (However, after the first Hunger Games installment’s release, Lionsgate did bump the remainder of the trilogy into the more competitive Thanksgiving time frame.)

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Box office update: 'Divergent' earns $22.8 million on Friday

Divergent, the big-screen adaptation of Veronica Roth’s hit YA sci-fi book series, had no trouble setting itself apart at theaters on Friday, grossing an estimated $22.8 million. That’s the largest single-day haul at the box office since The LEGO Movie, which made $30.8 million on its first Saturday in February.  Divergent also collected $4.9 million at midnight shows on Thursday, bringing its total to $27.7 million before the weekend officially even begins. For comparison, The Hunger Games, the first chapter of the current gold-standard YA franchise, earned $67.3 million on its first Friday in March, 2012 on its way to a $152.5 million weekend. Divergent, which reportedly cost $85 million to produce, could reach as high as $60 million by the end of the weekend for a decisive win.

In second place, Muppets Most Wanted grossed $4.7 million on Friday. The caper comedy, starring Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, and Ricky Gervais alongside Jim Henson’s legendary puppets, marks the Muppets’ eighth big-screen adventure and their first since 2011’s reboot The Muppets. That version, scripted by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, earned $12.1 million on its first Friday and eventual achieved an $88.6 million cumulative gross. Muppets Most Wanted should perform well with families this weekend, and could take in more than $20 million by Sunday night.

In a surprise showing, the inspirational drama God’s Not Dead, distributed by Freestyle Releasing, came in third place with $2.8 million on Friday. The low-budget independent film, which tells the story of a college student who challenges a professor’s belief that God doesn’t exist, played in just 780 theaters, and could earn as much as $8 million in its first weekend.

In fourth place, the animated adventure Mr. Peabody and Sherman earned $2.7 million for a $72 million total gross after 15 days. And in fifth place, 300: Rise of an Empire conquered another $2.4 million on Friday, bringing its total $87 million. Expanding to 304 theaters, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel continued to ride a wave of critical acclaim to an estimated $1.8 million Friday take.

1. Divergent – $22.8 million
2. Muppets Most Wanted – $4.7 million
3. God’s Not Dead – $2.8 million
4. Mr. Peabody and Sherman – $2.7 million
5. 300: Rise of an Empire – $2.4 million

Box office preview: 'Divergent' faces off against 'Muppets Most Wanted'

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The 2014 box office, already up 8 percent from last year, is heating up as Divergent stares down Muppets Most Wanted, both of which open in over 3,000 theaters this weekend. But, the YA adaptation looks to be the clear frontrunner and it would not surprise if it doubled the Muppets’ opening returns.

Divergent is one of the first big-budget films of 2014 to target a primarily female audience after weeks of expensive, male-targeted fare. The interest seems to be there for a big opening weekend, too. Beyond the popularity of the books, Fandango is reporting that Divergent accounts for more than 80 percent of its pre-sales. But, it also has a lot to live up to thanks to the unrealistic precedents set by franchises like The Hunger Games and Twilight, where anything under a $70 million opening could be seen as a disappointment.

Here’s how things might play out:

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