‘Captain America 2′ Tops Box Office and Crosses $200M!

Heaven Is For Real is to The Grudge as God’s Not Dead is to The Ring. As the first major Christian-centric film to drop after the surprisingly successful God’s Not DeadHeaven Is For Real got to capitalize on being the next portion of a newly popular dish. The Asian horror remake fad frankly began and ended with The Ring and The Grudge, with none of the would-be cash-ins outside of those two franchises, not even the painfully underratedDark Water remake) topping $28 million domestic. In terms of Asian remakes of all genres, the Sandra Bullock/Keanu Reeves romantic drama The Lake House basically doubled nearly every Asian horror remake with $52m domestic in 2006 (it’s also a painfully underrated meditation on adult loneliness). But the only Asian remake that soared is the one that followed the one that kick started the trend.

All of this explains how a Greg Kinnear-led drama earned $28.5 million over its five-day debut. If God’s Not Dead possibly made the Christian drama into a somewhat more popular sub-genre, then Heaven Is For Real is the first one to capitalize accordingly. Releasing a religious-themed film, especially a family-friendly one somewhat dealing with resurrection (it’s about young boy who claims to have seen heaven following a near-death experience), over the Easter holiday, has its advantages. Many businesses and most schools were closed on Friday, which meant bigger business offerings such as this.  TheSony production opened on Wednesday with $3.7 million, earning another $3.3m on Thursday and now scored $21.5 million over the Fri-Sun weekend.

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That’s a 2.73x weekend multiplier, which is actually pretty good for Easter weekend. Easter weekend is legendary for some horrible multipliers, as The Hanna Montana Movie (2009) and African Cats(2011) are the third and fourth most front loaded weekends of all-time. The film earned nearly as much on Friday as previous sub-genre’s record holder God’s Not Dead earned on its Fri-Sun opening weekend ($9.2m), even with the $7m worth of Wed-Thurs tickets already accounted for. Considering the film’s $12m budget and strong word-0f-mouth among the targeted demographic, this one is already a big hit.  Chalk it up to the obvious buzz around God’s Not Dead (which ended the weekend just under $49m by the way) and the usual church-centric advertising that helps sell films like this, along with the presence of honest-to-goodness known actors like the always terrific Greg Kinnear and Thomas Hayden Church.

Heaven Is For Real played 62% female and 49% under 35 years old. Yes, it got an A+ from Cinemascore from under-35 demos for what that’s worth. As I’ve always said, there is real money to be made from demographics that aren’t explicitly targeted as a matter of habit. This one may well have legs, and it’s hard to imagine that it won’t at least come close to topping the $59m gross of 20th Century Fox’s Son of God and end up being the biggest ‘explicitly sold to Christians’ religious film ever released. I imagine the DVD will sell like hotcakes when the time comes. Four God-centric films in under two months: Son of GodGod’s Not DeadNoah, and now Heaven Is For Real. I hate trend pieces, but this looks like a trend.

What was supposed to be the big opener of the weekend qualifies as an out-and-out bomb. I generally try to avoid screaming “FLOP!” whenever possible, but there is absolutely no good news forTranscendenceTranscendence boasted terrible reviews, almost no buzz, a generic trailer, and a director who is notable among film nerds like myself (Wally Pfister was the DP on the last several Chris Nolan films). That it opened with a miserable $11.15 million weekend is mostly attributable to face-on-the-poster star Johnny Depp and audiences wanting something resembling a big film while they wait forThe Amazing Spider-Man 2 in two weeks.

Truth be told, there is a portion of moviegoers who will see whatever the “big” movie of a given weekend happens to be, but you need far more than those consistent regulars to show up. The Warner Bros. (a division of Time Warner TWX +1.02%) release cost $100 million, but as usual the money came from elsewhere. Alcon Entertainment co-financed the film with China’s DMG Entertainment (it opened yesterday in China as well).  SummitInternational sold  overseas rights to various independent distributors, which actually covered much of the budget.

The film played 54% male, 21% under 18, 44% under 25, and 56% over 25, earning a C+ from Cinemascore overall. Anyway, this one is a big miss, both because it’s not very good and because it’s an unfortunate case of an original star vehicle tanking. Oh well. Let’s hope Jupiter Ascending delivers this July in the realm of big-budget original sci-fi vehicles. This is simply a very bad film that couldn’t make the sell over opening weekend and now has no reason to have anything resembling legs. Sometimes, even with “big” films, the reviews matter. In defense of all parties involved, especially Depp, I’m sure Transcendence (an original science-fiction morality drama from the DP who shot Inceptionseemed great in theory.

The next opener was A Haunted House 2 from Open Road Films. The $3 million sequel to last year’s A Haunted House opened with $9.1m. That’s way down from the $18m opening weekend of A Haunted House last January. I suppose that’s unfortunate, but again, the Marlon Wayans comedy cost just $3m to produce, so I don’t think anyone will be too busted up about the not terribly surprising comedown. It won’t touch the first film’s $40m domestic gross, but at that budget, it really doesn’t have to.

If the film does well in after-theatrical, we may see another one next year anyway. My wife for some reason loves White Chicks so there is a good chance I’ll have to watch this on DVD. Pray for me. But then I owe her for making her sit through the original Godzilla with me last night. Black & White, full-frame, foreign with subtitles, it’s like a checklist of things my wife hates. Yes I’m aware of the irony. Hopefully at least one of my children will pick up the slack.

Also opening this weekend was Walt Disney’s DIS +1.32% Bears, which is about zebras. The harmless if somewhat patronizing animal documentary (I’m reasonably sure those bears aren’t thinking what John C. Reilly told me they were thinking) earned a mediocre $4.7 million over the weekend. That’s the lowest debut thus far for a Disneynature documentary, as Earth opened with $8m in 2009, Oceans and African Cats opened with $6m in 2010 and 2011, and Chimpanzees opened with $12m in 2012. Business is usually pretty brief for these documentaries, so don’t expect Bears to get much past $12m total.

In all honesty, these are glorified charity works from the Mouse House, offering stunning nature footage in a kid-friendly narrative that arguably works as a gateway drug into more realistic nature documentaries and/or a general interest in the natural world. Bears will probably end its run with around $12m and we’ll get another one, Monkey Kingdom, this time next year. My kids had a good time on Friday, and my daughter learned the lesson meant to be imparted by all nature documentaries: Being a wild animal stinks.

Opening in limited release was John Turtorro’s Fading Gigolo, which is also the rare film that features Woody Allen but isn’t directed by Allen. The film, which Tuturro directed, wrote, and starred in, opened on five theaters courtesy of Millenium Entertainment. They earned $198,399, with a $39,680 per-screen average, for their troubles. In holdover news, the weekend was again dominated by Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Rio 2. The Walt Disney/Marvel sequel earned another $26 million for the weekend, down just 36% thanks to the holiday. The Chris Evans/Scarlett Johansson adventure has earned $201.5m domestic, passing the $176m total for Captain America and $181m total for Thor. It’s also now Robert Redford’s highest-grossing film ever, not adjusting for inflation of course. The real story is overseas, where the sequel has earned $385m for a worldwide cume of $586.6m.

20th Century Fox’s Rio 2 held okay, earning $22.5m on its second weekend (-43%) despite the holiday cushion. The $103m animated sequel has earned $75m domestic, already behind the $80m ten-day total of Rio. Worldwide, it was at $177m going into the weekend, so it’s just a question of how high over $200m it gets by tomorrow. They also earned $5.9m for Draft Day (-39%), giving the Kevin Costner football film $19.54m by the end of the today.  Lionsgate earned another $5.75m from Divergent, a solid 21% drop, bringing the franchise-starter’s cume to $133.9m. Oculus earned $5.2 million on its second weekend, an expected 57% drop for the Relativity horror film. The  film has earned $21.19m thus far. Paramount’s Noah earned $5m for a $93.2m cume. Finally, Universal’s Non-Stop crossed $90m this weekend.

That’s it for today. Join us next weekend for the calm before the summer storm. 20th Century Fox debuts the Cameron Diaz/Leslie Mann/Kate Upton comedy The Other Woman, Lionsgate drops The Quiet Ones, and Relativity debuts Brick Mansions, a Paul Walker/RZA remake of District B19. – Source: Forbes

‘Noah’ Rides Epic Wave to Top of Box Office!

Noah, the biblical epic starring Russell Crowe, sailed to the top at theaters this weekend, unseatingDivergent after just one week at No. 1 and clobbering Sabotage, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s third straight flop.

Noah cruised to $44 million, according to studio estimates from Rentrak.

Analysts expected $30 million from the film, the latest in a raft of faith-themed movies out this year. Son of God ($57.9 million) and God’s Not Dead ($22 million) eclipsed projections — and God’s Not Dead remains in the top five. Heaven Is for Real (April 16) and Exodus (Dec. 12) remain on tap.

Analysts say that Noah‘s audience expanded beyond the religious because directorDarren Aronofsky added plenty of Hollywood touches to give the $125 million picture the feel of a mainstream disaster flick.

“It certainly feels like the ‘biggest’ film of 2014,” says Tim Briody, analyst for Box Office Prophets.

But how long will it reign? Noah finds itself in rarefied air: a special-effects movie that pleases critics — but apparently not fans.

About three-fourths of reviewers gave the movie a thumbs-up, according to Rotten Tomatoes. But only 49% of moviegoers liked it, the site says. And the movie earned a C from pollsters CinemaScore, imperiling its long-run box-office prospects.

Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo says that the movie may have alienated Christian audiences anticipating the film would hew closer to the Bible and not the “unexpected fantasy elements in the movie.”

Still, Noah collected plenty enough to dethrone Divergent, which took second with $26.5 million. The best-seller adaptation has collected $95.3 million in 10 days, and two sequels are in the works.

Muppets Most Wanted claimed third with $11.4 million, followed by Mr. Peabody & Sherman with $9.5 million.

God’s Not Dead was fifth with $9.1 million, marking another Hollywood rarity: two Christian-themed films in the top five.

Sabotage, Schwarzenegger’s latest and the only other major newcomer of the weekend, claimed seventh place with $5.3 million, about $3 million below expectations. The film comes on the heels of two box-office disappointments last year:Escape Plan, which collected $25 million, and The Last Stand, which mustered only $12 million.

Top 25 Movies of 2013!

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The top 25 highest-grossing movies at the box office (U.S. and Canada) this year as of Dec. 1, 2013.

Titles still in theaters have an asterisk next to their gross.

Image of Iron Man 3
1.Iron Man 3 (2013)  7.4/10

When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution. (130 mins.)
Director: Shane Black
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle
“ $409 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Despicable Me 2
2.Despicable Me 2 (2013)   7.5/10

Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal. (98 mins.)
Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Stars: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove
“ $366.9 million* ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
3.The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)   8.1/10

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem. (146 mins.)
Director: Francis Lawrence
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Philip Seymour Hoffman
“ $296.3 million* ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Man of Steel
4.Man of Steel (2013)   7.4/10

A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race. (143 mins.)
Director: Zack Snyder
Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane
“ $291 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Monsters University
5.Monsters University (2013)  7.4/10

A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at Monsters University — when they weren’t necessarily the best of friends. (104 mins.)
Director: Dan Scanlon
Stars: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren
“ $268.4 million* ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Gravity
6.Gravity (2013)   8.4/10

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space. (91 mins.)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen
“ $249.7 million* ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Fast & Furious 6
7.Fast & Furious 6 (2013)  7.2/10

Hobbs has Dom and Brian reassemble their crew in order to take down a mastermind who commands an organization of mercenary drivers across 12 countries. Payment? Full pardons for them all. (130 mins.)
Director: Justin Lin
Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez
“ $238.7 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Oz the Great and Powerful
8.Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)   6.4/10

A small-time magician is swept away to an enchanted land and is forced into a power struggle between three witches. (130 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis
“ $234.9 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Star Trek Into Darkness
9.Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)   7.9/10

After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. (132 mins.)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch
“ $228.8 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of World War Z
10.World War Z (2013)  7.1/10

United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself. (116 mins.)
Director: Marc Forster
Stars: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale
“ $202.4 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of The Croods
11.The Croods (2013)  7.3/10

After their cave is destroyed, a caveman family must trek through an unfamiliar fantastical world with the help of an inventive boy. (98 mins.)
Director: Kirk DeMicco, Chris Sanders
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener
“ $187.2 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Thor: The Dark World
12.Thor: The Dark World (2013)  7.6/10

Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all. (112 mins.)
Director: Alan Taylor
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård
“ $186.7 million* ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of The Heat
13.The Heat (2013)  6.6/10

An uptight FBI Special Agent is paired with a foul-mouthed Boston cop to take down a ruthless drug lord. (117 mins.)
Director: Paul Feig
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Michael McDonald, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir
“ $159.6 million* ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of We're the Millers
14.We’re the Millers (2013) 7.1/10

A veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico. (110 mins.)
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Ed Helms
“ $150.4 million* ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of The Great Gatsby
15.The Great Gatsby (2013) 7.3/10

A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor. (143 mins.)
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire
“ $144.8 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of The Conjuring
16.The Conjuring (2013) 7.5/10

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. (112 mins.)
Director: James Wan
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor
“ $137.4 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Identity Thief
17.Identity Thief (2013)  5.6/10

Mild-mannered businessman Sandy Patterson travels from Denver to Florida to confront the deceptively harmless-looking woman who has been living it up after stealing Sandy’s identity. (111 mins.)
Director: Seth Gordon
Stars: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, John Cho, Amanda Peet
“ $134.5 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Grown Ups 2
18.Grown Ups 2 (2013) 5.3/10

After moving his family back to his hometown to be with his friends and their kids, Lenny finds out that between old bullies, new bullies, schizo bus drivers, drunk cops on skis, and 400 costumed party crashers sometimes crazy follows you. (101 mins.)
Director: Dennis Dugan
Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade
“ $133.7 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of The Wolverine
19.The Wolverine (2013) 6.8/10

When Wolverine is summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, he is embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons. (126 mins.)
Director: James Mangold
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima
“ $132.6 million* ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of G.I. Joe: Retaliation
20.G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) 5.8/10

The G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence. (110 mins.)
Director: Jon M. Chu
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Adrianne Palicki, Byung-hun Lee
“ $122.5 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Now You See Me
21.Now You See Me (2013) 7.3/10

An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money. (115 mins.)
Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Common, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson
“ $117.7 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Lee Daniels' The Butler
22.Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013) 6.8/10

As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man’s life, family, and American society. (132 mins.)
Director: Lee Daniels
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda
“ $115.6 million* ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
23.Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013) 6.6/10

Flint Lockwood now works at The Live Corp Company for his idol Chester V. But he’s forced to leave his post when he learns that his most infamous machine is still operational and is churning out menacing food-animal hybrids. (95 mins.)
Director: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
Stars: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Will Forte, Neil Patrick Harris
“ $115 million* ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of The Hangover Part III
24.The Hangover Part III (2013)  5.9/10

When one of their own is kidnapped by an angry gangster, the Wolf Pack must track down Mr. Chow, who has escaped from prison and is on the lam. (100 mins.)
Director: Todd Phillips
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha
“ $112.2 million ” – IMDb-Editors
Image of Epic
25. Epic (2013) 6.6/10

A teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil is taking place. She bands together with a rag-tag group characters in order to save their world — and ours. (102 mins.)
Director: Chris Wedge
Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Beyoncé Knowles, Colin Farrell
“ $107.5 million ” – IMDb-Editors