Box office hero? ‘Captain America’Marvel Studios is performing marvelously in the box office, where its “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” took first place in both Korea and the United States for the first weekend in April.
It was the second consecutive week at the top in Korea for the sequel to Marvel’s 2011 film about the superhero in red, white and blue.
In the United States, the film grossed $96.2 million in weekend ticket sales to blow past last week’s winner “Noah.” In the process, it also validated the strategy of the distributor, the Walt Disney Company, to ramp up its pipeline of films featuring super heroes made famous by bashing bad guys in Marvel Comics.
According to the Korea Film Council, “Captain America” garnered ticket sales of 762,124 in its second week for a total revenue of more than 21 billion won ($19.9 million).
In the second slot was another blockbuster, “3 Days to Kill,” which debuted with 117,175 in ticket sales for a box office total of 926.8 million. It stars Kevin Costner as a CIA agent who tries to bond with his family after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
Stumbling down one step, Russell Crowe’s “Noah” landed in third place by taking in 117,029 admissions over the weekend to bring its total to 931.4 million won.
With Korean movies not doing so well, Kim Hee-ae’s “Elegant Lies,” which draws upon the fragility of family ties after the youngest daughter kills herself, managed to stay in fourth. It added 95,631 ticket sales to bring its four-week total to 1.55 million in admissions, and 11.3 billion won in box office revenue.
Wes Anderson’s fantasy film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” checked out to fifth place with 88,552 weekend admissions to bring its total revenue to 760.5 million won.
Meryl Streep’s latest black comedy-drama “August: Osage County” debuted in eighth place with ticket sales of 40,518.
“Professional Mr. Baek,” with Korea’s latest heartthrobs Yeo Jin-gu and Yoon Si-yoon, opened in ninth place with 29,136 admissions. “Professional Mr. Baek” and “Elegant Lies” were the only Korean films to make the top 10.
In the United States, “Captain America,” which stars Chris Evans as a scrawny World War II reject given super powers from an experimental serum, easily exceeded the April record for revenue set by the racing movie “Fast Five,” which collected $86.2 million in April 2011.
Since Disney bought Marvel for $4 billion in 2009, Marvel characters have starred in some of Hollywood’s biggest hits. “Iron Man 3” was last year’s second-highest grossing film with domestic ticket sales of $409 million, according to the site Box Office Mojo.
In 2012, “Marvel’s The Avengers” was the third-biggest film in Hollywood history, with $623.4 million in domestic sales and $1.5 billion worldwide.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is “a safe bet” to pass $250 million, said Box Office Mojo.
“Noah,” starring Crowe as the biblical figure, was second with $17 million in ticket sales from Friday to Sunday.
The dystopian action film “Divergent” was third with $13 million, for a total of $114 million since its March 21 release in U.S. and Canadian theaters.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” also scored the biggest opening weekend of 2014, and took in an additional $9.6 million at IMAX screenings, for which moviegoers pay a premium. That also set a new April record.
“I would certainly expect we can broaden out” beyond the usual Marvel film buyers, said Dave Hollis, Walt Disney Studios’ executive vice president of film distribution. Hollis noted that some 90 percent of critics gave positive notices as collated by the Rotten Tomatoes website and audiences rated the film an A.
Fourth for the weekend, with sales of $7.7 million, was the independently released Christian drama “God’s Not Dead,” which continued its impressive run despite being panned by critics.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” rounded out the top five, taking in $6.3 million. Starring Ralph Fiennes as a scheming concierge and directed by Wes Anderson, the film started slowly, playing in only four theaters on March 7 and has grown steadily. It is currently playing in 1,263 theaters.
Disney distributed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” “Noah” was released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom.
Lionsgate distributed “Divergent.” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was released by Fox Searchlight, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox. “God’s Not Dead” was distributed by Freestyle Releasing.
By Jin Eun-soo, REUTERS [email@example.com]