World Box Office April 14-20

There was no second coming for Johnny Depp’s status as the world’s biggest box office draw, as Transcendence opened on Easter weekend to a disappointing $11.5 million in 3,455 North American theaters. It may be time for the well loved actor to break out the bandanas and gold teeth again as he has not been able to replicate the success of captain Jack Sparrow in his last three big-budget releases. Audiences were most likely deterred by negative reviews of Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister’s directorial debut, but with an overseas limited opening of $17.4 million there is still hope that Depp’s higher popularity abroad may resurrect the fortunes of the sci-fi production.

With Transcendence at number four, the winners were once more Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier and Rio 2. The two standout spring releases shared accolades again: Captain led the field with $26.6 million at home as it inches closer to $600 million global cumulative, while Rio 2 came out on top at $48 million overseas. Director Carlos Saldanha’s animated sequel has amassed $275 million worldwide to date.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailed closely with a $47 million opening in fourteen international markets, including a 2014 record release of $15 million in the UK. This impressive debut puts director Marc Webb’s sequel even with the original reboot and 30% ahead of Captain America 2’s opening numbers. Sony Pictures International can expect a strong showing when the latest Andrew Garfield led Spidey installment with Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx gets its domestic release on May 3rd.

The real miracle of the Easter box office, however, is number three domestic performer Heaven Is For Real. Riding the hype of fellow Christian release God’s Not Dead, the $12 million religious drama cruised to a $28.5 million take since its start last Wednesday. Starring Greg Kinnear as pastor Todd Burpo whose son (Connor Corrum) meets Jesus in heaven during an operation, the religious drama is silencing any remaining doubts that faith-based pictures are turning into a new box-office staple. God’s Not Dead added another $4.8 million to bring it’s cumulative to $48.3 million. Noah, a biblical story with decidedly more mass appeal, has managed $93.7 million domestically and $197.4 million overseas off of its reported $125 million budget. Studios will certainly be taking note of the power of religious pathos to rival the draw of big names and special effects.

Fellow domestic debutant Haunted House 2, starring Marlon Wayans, had a rather less remarkable showing as it finished fifth with $9.1 million. This is just half of the original’s $18 million start. Disney nature documentary Bears finished it’s opening weekend at number 11 with $4.7 million from 1,720 theatres. Directed by veteran nature movie producers Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, the film follows a family of grizzly bears as they cope with the challenges of surviving the harsh wilderness in Alaska’s Katmai National Park.

In other news, Relativity media’s festival acquisition Oculus brought home $5.2 million, bringing the horror film to a $21.5 million domestic total. A second-weekend take that exceeds its purchase for a sequel for the demonic thriller.

The art-house scene scored another win as John Turturro’s film Fading Gigolo received a limited release. The story centers on struggling florist Fioravanti, played by the director, who is encouraged by his friend Murray (Woody Allen) to sleep with his middle-aged dermatologist (Sharon Stone). Their venture ends successfully and the duo goes on to establish a profitable and comical “working” relationship. Despite the controversy surrounding the most recent Cecil B. De Mille winner, the film brought home $198,379 from just five locations.

Lastly, as if last week’s record grab wasn’t enough, Frozen climbed another two rungs on the golden ladder of all time best sellers to reach number six with global receipts of $1.129 billion. Disney (and the world’s) biggest-ever animated release overtook The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($1.114 billion) and Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon ($1.23 billion).

Lorenzo Soria

There was no second coming for Johnny Depp’s status as the world’s biggest box office draw, as Transcendence opened on Easter weekend.