The Avengers effect has yet to subside. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a sequel to both The Avengers and Captain America: The First Avenger, debuted with an estimated $10.2 million from Thursday night (April 3, '14) screenings in North America, including $1.2 million at 344 IMAX locations. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, and featuring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, and veteran Robert Redford Captain America: The Winter Soldier is poised to enjoy the biggest April weekend opening ever at the domestic box office, even after factoring in inflation.
At 3,938 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, Captain America: The Winter Soldier will surely surpass the current April record-holder, Justin Lin's Fast Five. Starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, and Dwayne Johnson, the Rio de Janeiro-set actioner collected $86.19 million from 3,793 venues on its first weekend out in late April 2011 – or about $89 million in 2014 dollars.
Early estimates claiming that Captain America: The Winter Soldier would debut with around $85 million sounded absurdly low key. In fact, as explained by Ray Subers at Box Office Mojo chances are Captain America 2 will open domestically with at least $100 million, possibly reaching as high as $120 million if it follows the late Thursday/overall weekend pattern of both Alan Taylor's Thor: The Dark World, starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, and Shane Black's Iron Man 3, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow.
For comparison's sake, Joe Johnston's Captain America: The First Avenger, also starring Chris Evans in the title role, scored $65.82 million – including approximately $4 million from midnight only screenings – at 3,715 North American locations in late July 2011. Captain America: The First Avenger went on to gross $176.65 million in the U.S. and Canada.
For the record, adjusted for inflation the top domestic opening weekends in April to date belong to the aforementioned Fast Five, followed by Justin Lin's Fast and Furious (2009), also with Paul Walker and Vin Diesel; Louis Leterrier's Clash of the Titans (2010), with Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, and Ralph Fiennes; Peter Segal's Anger Management (2003), with Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, and Marisa Tomei; and David Hayter's The Scorpion King (2002), with Dwayne Johnson and Michael Clarke Duncan. Captain America: The Winter Soldier performer Robert Redford has one movie on the list, at no. 11: Adrian Lyne's Indecent Proposal, a widely discussed 1993 “sex” drama also starring Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson.
'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' international box office
Internationally, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has to date grossed an estimated $95.83 million. Its top markets last weekend were South Korea, with $10.98 million; the United Kingdom, with $10.04 million; and Mexico, with $8.59 million. Elsewhere in Europe – e.g., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium – Captain America 2 has done just okay-to-middling business.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in Russia, Australia, and China this weekend. It opens in Brazil and Turkey next weekend, and in Japan on April 19.
'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' budget and cast
Captain America: The Winter Soldier cost a reported $178 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses that could easily add another $90 million or more to the film's price tag. Captain America: The First Avenger cost a reported $140 million.
Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, besides Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, and Oscar winner Robert Redford (as Best Director for Ordinary People), Captain America: The Winter Soldier features Hayley Atwell, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Maximiliano Hernández, Samuel L. Jackson, Emily VanCamp, Toby Jones, Jenny Agutter, Garry Shandling, Dominic Cooper, Thomas Kretschmann, Bernard White, Stan Lee, and the voice of Gary Sinise.
Chris Evans and Robert Redford Captain America: The Winter Soldier photo: Zade Rosenthal / Marvel / Walt Disney Studios.