Sunday Update: Disney's Captain America: The Winter Soldier took in an estimated $26.61 million this weekend to lead the weekend box office for a third consecutive frame. The blockbuster 3D superhero sequel from Marvel is set to surpass the $200 million domestic milestone on Sunday, making it the second release of 2014 to reach the milestone (The LEGO Movie being the first). Captain America: The Winter Soldier was down 36 percent from last weekend, which indicates that strong word of mouth is really starting to kick in for the film. With a 17-day take of $201.53 million, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is now running 20 percent ahead of the $167.92 million 17-day gross of last year's Thor: The Dark World and will soon surpass that film's final domestic gross of $206.36 million.
Fox's Rio 2 held steady in second place with an estimated $22.5 million. The 3D computer animated sequel from Blue Sky Studios was down 43 percent from last weekend. That represented a harsher second weekend decline than 2011's Rio experienced, when it fell 33 percent to gross $26.32 million. Rio 2 has grossed $75.36 million through ten days of release. That is 7 percent softer than the $80.81 million ten-day take of Rio, but Rio 2 is still performing well in its own right, especially when considering its strength overseas. With the lack of high-profile animated releases entering the marketplace between now and June 13, when Fox releases How to Train Your Dragon 2, Rio 2 is likely to stabilize going forward.
Heaven is for Real exceeded its rapidly rising expectations this weekend with an estimated third place start of $21.5 million. The low-budget faith-based drama from Sony has grossed $28.53 million in its first five days of release. With a five-day to three-day ratio of 1.33 to 1, Heaven is for Real clearly built up momentum once the weekend arrived, as moviegoers were in the mood to catch the film over Easter weekend. The five-day start for Heaven is for Real was an impressive 12 percent stronger than the $25.39 million five-day launch of The Last Song over Easter weekend back in 2010.
Heaven is for Real took in $7.85 million on Good Friday, increased 5 percent on Saturday to take in $8.26 million and is estimated to fall 35 percent on Sunday to gross $5.39 million. The film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.74 to 1 is extremely strong for a faith-based film over Easter weekend and is a good early sign going forward. The film's A rating on CinemaScore is also a strong sign for the film. The audience breakdown for Heaven is for Real skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (62 percent) and slightly towards moviegoers 35 years and older (51 percent).
On the other end of the box office spectrum, Warner's Transcendence bombed this weekend with an estimated fourth place start of just $11.15 million. The pricey sci-fi film starring Johnny Depp had been widely expected to get off to a lackluster start this weekend, but the film was ultimately unable to live up to its relatively modest expectations for a film of its cost. Clearly, the film's largely negative critical reviews didn't help matters this weekend. The opening weekend performance of Transcendence was quite similar to the $11.59 million launch of Grindhouse over Easter weekend back in 2007.
Transcendence opened with $4.85 million on Friday (with an alarmingly high $850,000 of that total coming from Thursday night shows), fell a harsh 21 percent on Saturday to take in $3.82 million and is estimated to slide 35 percent on Sunday to gross $2.49 million. The film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.30 to 1 is soft for a film aimed at adult audiences over Easter weekend. The audience breakdown for the film skewed towards male moviegoers (56 percent) and moviegoers over the age of 25 (56 percent). Transcendence looks to fade away from theatres quickly, especially with it having received a disappointing C+ rating on CinemaScore.
Also off to a lackluster start this weekend was Open Road's A Haunted House 2. The low-budget horror comedy sequel starring Marlon Wayans debuted in fifth with an estimated $9.1 million. That was below pre-release expectations and was a disappointing 50 percent softer than the $18.10 million start of last year's A Haunted House. A Haunted House 2 opened with $4.04 million on Friday, fell 25 percent to take in $3.03 million on Saturday and is estimated to fall 33 percent on Sunday to gross $2.03 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at just 2.25 to 1. A Haunted House 2 received an underwhelming B- rating on CinemaScore and is extremely likely to be front-loaded towards its opening weekend performance.
The weekend's other new wide release, Bears, debuted in eleventh with an estimated $4.77 million. The latest nature documentary from Disneynature opened softer than was widely anticipated and 20 percent below the $6.00 million start of African Cats over Easter weekend back in 2011. However, it should be noted that African Cats did have the added advantage of having Earth Day fall on its opening Friday. With Earth Day falling this coming Tuesday, Bears is likely to hold up nicely during the midweek. The film received a strong A rating on CinemaScore.
Saturday Update: Although Friday was led by Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Rio 2, Sony's Heaven Is for Real continues to perform well in its extended Easter weekend launch as it pulled off an upset over Transcendence yesterday. After bringing in $7 million combined on Wednesday and Thursday, the faith-based adaptation earned another $7.85 million on Good Friday as the film continues to crossover between mainstream and church-going audiences. BoxOffice projects Heaven will tally $19 million over the 3-day frame, giving it a strong 5-day start of $26 million through Easter Sunday. The film's Flixster score is a very encouraging 80 percent, on par with Son of God's 82 percent on the first Saturday of its release.
Warner Bros. reports that Transcendence earned a meager $4.82 million on Good Friday--including Thursday night's $850,000 early show debut. From there, BoxOffice projects a disastrous $12.2 million weekend for the $100 million+ sci-fi flick. By comparison, 2011's Source Code opened to $5.1 million before going to a $14.8 million opening weekend in April 2011. Early word of mouth isn't doing Transcendence any favors as WB reports audiences gave the pic a poor C+ Cinemascore, while the film's Flixster approval/anticipation rating is down to 50 percent after just one day of release. The writing was on the wall going into release as Rotten Tomatoes critics rate it a mere 19 percent fresh as of Saturday morning.
A Haunted House 2 brought in $4.03 million for its first day, significantly down from its predecessor's $6.8 million opening Friday. BoxOffice projects a soft $9.8 million weekend. Critics, unsurprisingly, disapprove of the film (7 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but Flixster's community gives the film a 75 percent score as of Saturday morning.
Rounding out the weekend's new releases, Disneynature's Bears pulled a modest $2.3 million yesterday and is projected to earn $5.4 million over Easter weekend. While that's noticeably down from Chimpanzee's $3.55 million opening day two years ago, it should be noted that Earth Day fell on Sunday that year while Easter had already passed two weeks earlier. With Earth Day 2014 landing on this coming Tuesday, Bears could see slight back-loading after the weekend. Critics' reviews (88 percent) and early word of mouth (80 percent on Flixster) appear healthy.
Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that Transcendence may be trailing Heaven Is for Real in a close race on Friday. The Johnny Depp sci-fi flick is on pace to bring in around $6 million today. That would position it for a considerably disappointing $16 million weekend. Meanwhile, Sony's faith-based hit is looking at a possible $6.5 million on Friday--after bringing in over $7 million on Wednesday and Thursday already. From there, Heaven would also be on course for a $15-16 million three-day frame.
No early numbers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier have been reported yet, however, Rio 2 is holding well for a targeted $11 million Friday and $28 million sophomore frame.
Meanwhile, A Haunted House 2 is off to a rocky start with what looks to be a $4 million Friday and $10 million opening weekend. Disneynature's Bears could earn around $3 million today for an opening weekend around $7 million.
Friday Update: Warner Bros. reports that Transcendence earned $850K from Thursday evening shows.
More to come...
Thursday Update: Sony reports that Heaven Is for Real bowed to a strong $3.7 million on Wednesday, claiming first place in the process. That figure tops the $3.64 million Friday debut of April 2011's Soul Surfer, a fellow faith-based film also distributed by Sony. With Easter weekend still ahead and a strong push for pre-sales among church crowds, Heaven is set to post a very healthy 5-day opening.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier grabbed another $3.52 million yesterday as it slipped into second place. That figure was down 25 percent from Tuesday and just 27 percent from Wednesday of last week. Through 13 days of release, Winter Soldier's $170.6 million domestic take is 12 percent ahead of Thor: The Dark World at the same point.
Rio 2 dropped 29 percent from Tuesday to add $3.03 million yesterday. The animated sequel's 6-day take is $49.3 million, or about 2 percent behind the pace of the 2011 original film.
Kevin Costner's Draft Day earned $0.83 million on Wednesday, off 34 percent from Tuesday. The sports drama's 6-day gross is $12.7 million, about 15 percent behind Costner's 3 Days to Kill.
Rounding out the top five, Oculus posted a 24 percent decline from Tuesday as it took in $0.87 million yesterday. The horror flick's 6-day tally is $14.97 million--3 percent ahead of House at the End of the Street.
Previously: Sony reports that Heaven Is For Real snagged $3.7 million yesterday, putting it in first place ahead of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Rio 2. The faith-based flick boasts an A+ CinemaScore from viewers under 35 and an A overall.
"We believe through strong word of mouth and social media, Heaven is for Real will continue to play well throughout the holiday weekend and beyond," says Jean Geurin, Senior VP, Media Relations for Sony.