April 21 (Bloomberg) -- Captain America vanquished his enemies again in domestic cinemas.
Walt Disney Co.’s superhero film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” was No. 1 for a third straight weekend in the U.S. and Canada, with sales of $26.6 million, Rentrak Corp. said in a statement. Fox’s “Rio 2” garnered $22.5 million, and the Johnny Depp sci-fi drama “Transcendence” opened with $11.2 million to place fourth for Warner Bros.
The weekend sales highlighted the durability of Disney’s Marvel superheroes, along with the shrewd decision to open the film before the big summer rush of competing pictures. Easter weekend gave fans an extra day off Friday to visit theaters.
“This is historic brand building that Marvel is executing with Disney,” said Phil Contrino, the Washington-based chief analyst at Boxoffice.com in a telephone interview. “Since the release of Avengers, we’re seeing this trickle-down effect where every movie that comes out after is benefiting from it. With another ‘Avengers’ coming out, that will increase.”
“Marvel’s The Avengers” generated $1.52 billion in global ticket sales in 2012, making it the third-highest grossing movie of all time.
“The Winter Soldier” was projected to take in $24.5 million in its third weekend while “Rio 2” was expected to collect $24 million, according to BoxOffice.com, which issued both forecasts.
“Captain America” picks up the story of super-soldier Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, who battles a Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. It has collected $170.6 million domestically, as of April 16, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and cost an estimated $170 million to produce, according to the researcher.
“Rio 2,” about a family of blue parrots, features the voices of Anne Hathaway and Jamie Foxx. It was made for $103 million and has collected $75.4 million domestically.
“Heaven Is for Real,” a religiously themed movie from Sony Corp., collected $21.5 million in its opening to place third. BoxOffice.com had projected $17 million in sales.
The faith-based film features Greg Kinnear as a small-town father who must support his young son who glimpses the afterlife during a near-death experience. The movie benefited from favorable reviews, with a 53 percent positive rating on Rottentomatoes.com.
“The success of ‘Heaven is for Real’ is certainly something to be noted,” said Contrino. “This year has been a pretty big validation for religious movies. We haven’t seen the last of it. You’ll see more films aimed at religious moviegoers.”
“Transcendence,” garnered a 19 percent positive rating on Rottentomatoes.com, which assesses reviews, and was projected by BoxOffice.com to take in $18.5 million in its debut.
“‘Transcendence’ is a dark, lurchingly entertaining pastiche of age-old worries, future-shock jolts, hot-button topics and old-fashioned genre thrills,” wrote Manohla Dargis in the New York Times.
Weekend sales for the movie, with a production budget of $100 million, according to Box Office Mojo, suggest Depp is still seeking his comeback film after disappointing results in Disney’s “The Lone Ranger” last summer and the lackluster “Dark Shadows” in 2012
“Transcendence had very disappointing results,” said Contrino. “People want stories that grab them and for whatever reason, people just weren’t excited to see this movie. You can’t say that just because Johnny Depp is in a movie, it’s a guaranteed success.”
“A Haunted House 2,” the horror-comedy sequel to the 2013 film, collected $9.1 million to place fifth for Open Road Films. Featuring Marlon Wayans, it was projected to collect $13.5 million.
Football drama “Draft Day,” featuring Kevin Costner, placed sixth in the second week of its release, with sales of $5.9 million for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
Weekend revenue for the top 10 films rose 21.8 percent to $117.5 million from the year-earlier period, Rentrak said. Domestic box-office sales year to date are $2.98 billion, up 8.6 percent from a year earlier.
The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Rentrak. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales for April 18, April 19 and estimates for yesterday.
Rev. Pct. Avg./ Total
Movie (mln) Chg. Theaters Theater (mln) Wks
1 Winter Soldier $26.6 -36 3,825 $6,957 $201.5 3
2 Rio 2 22.5 -43 3,975 5,660 75.4 2
3 Heaven is For Real 21.5 -- 2,417 8,895 28.5 1
4 Transcendence 11.2 -- 3,455 3,227 11.2 1
5 Haunted House, 2 9.1 -- 2,310 3,939 9.1 1
6 Draft Day 5.7 Divergent 5.8 Oculus 5.9 Noah 5.10 God’s Not Dead 4.
Top 10 Films Grosses
This Week Year Ago Pct.
(mln) (mln) Chg.
$117.5 $94.5 +21.8
(mln) (mln) Chg.
$2,977 $2,740 +8.6
Source: Rentrak Corp.