World Box Office 3/31-4/6/2014

by HFPA April 7, 2014

Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans at a press conference for Captain America: The Winter Soldier at a shopping mall in Beijing on March 24, 2014.

Uncle Sam is grinning ear to ear. Last weekend’s patriotic thriller Captain America: The Winter Soldier surpassed expectations to set a record breaking April release of $96.2 million in domestic theaters. Internationally the early season blockbuster cleared over $207 million, $132 million above last weekend’s highly lauded $75 million presale. Chris Evans in the title role along with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Robert Redford, in his villainous action movie debut, fired the Marvel property distributed by Disney to a staggering $303 million-plus cumulative take in its domestic and international opening. Imax projections added a significant amount to this figure, with the large format accounting for $16 million in international revenue.

In the U.S., Captain America broke records for the month of April, but what is powering the production’s success are the international markets, led not surprisingly by China. Helped by the perception of being a semi-sequel to The Avengers, the new movie has already earned more abroad than its predecessor Captain America: The First Avenger, which ended up accumulating $193.9 million. Chinese theaters, which continue to crop up at an astonishing rate of 17 per day, accounted for $ 39.2 million. South Korea added $19.8 million, the UK $18 million, Mexico $16.2 million, France $12.1 million, Germany $7.6 million, Italy $7.1 million. The film was number one in Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Argentina. In a repeat engagement, Captain America added $7.4 million in Russia and $6 million in Australia. And these numbers do not include countries such as Brazil and Japan, where it will open in the next few weeks.

As the graphic novel adaptation consolidates its primacy as the global entertainment medium of choice, a much older form of inspiration continues to prove its pop culture relevance. Noah, starring Russell Crowe in the title role and Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connolly and Emma Watson, continues to stand as a bastion for the relevance of age old Biblical narrative in popular culture. Domestically, the Darren Aronofsky drama dropped a significant though not unexpected 60% from its opening weekend, still managing over $17 million in North American theatres for a cumulative total of $72.3 million. Meanwhile Paramount’s top 2014 release continued to flood the global box office. The religious drama added another $45 million dollars to take its two-week international revenue past the $106 million mark. Noah did particularly well in Brazil ($8.5 million), in the UK ($4.2 million) and in Germany , where it ranked number one going against Captain America. And in Russia and South Korea, holdovers from last week, where it grossed a total, respectively, of $6.2 million and $14.3 million.

Christian fare marched on in the U.S. market as God’s Not Dead added $7.7 million to bring it’s national gross just shy of $40 million. The religious drama pits a devout freshman college student, portrayed by Disney Channel starlet Shane Steven Harper, against antagonist Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journey’s) in a philosophical based test of faith. Despite middling revues, the church-going crowd pleaser has managed a box office total of just over $33 million. Considering its $2 million production budget this pic may come to be seen as the springboard for a series of faith-based films aimed at religious audiences.

Back in the secular world, Need for Speed has reached $143.7 million dollars. Divergent, now in it’s third weekend, added another $13 million from North American theatres bringing it to a domestic total of $114 million. Internationally, where series author Veronica Roth’s books aren’t as popular, the Red Wagon and Summit Entertainment picture added $11 million for a total of just $22.4 million. Wes Anderson’s melancholic Grand Budapest Hotel continued its success, adding another $5.5 million for a total tally of $54.3 million.

On the animation front, Frozen continued it’s march up the record books. The Disney hit is set to cross $700 million later this week or this weekend. The global tally has reached $1.0973 billion, surpassing The Dark Knight to become the ninth top grossing film of all time. Rio 2 took in $22.2 million from 12 territories bringing it to a $55.5 million total. Its most notable result came at “home” as the animated sequel set in the Amazon forest added $5.6 million for a $15.3 million total in Brazil after two sessions. DreamWorks Animation’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman added $11.2 million, for a cumulative of $137.4 million.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is proving expendable in his capacity as an action star as Sabotage grossed $1.9 million in its second weekend for a dismal domestic total of $8.8 million. It was instead an auspicious debut for Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson as an extraterrestrial with a tendency to kill earthlings. In just four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, the film grossed $140,000. The very positive reviews must have helped. Or perhaps it was the appetite of audiences to see more of Black Widow. And her skin.

Lorenzo Soria