'Captain America' soars again, tops 'Rio 2' to win U.S. box office

Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:39pm EDT
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By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Marvel's superhero in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" claimed a third straight box office win, collecting $26.6 million at the domestic box office to beat the colorful birds of animated film "Rio 2," which generated $22.5 million in ticket sales.

"Heaven Is for Real", based on a best-selling Christian book about a boy who claims to have witnessed heaven during surgery, was a strong third at U.S. and Canadian theaters with $21.5 million over the Easter holiday weekend.

"Transcendence", the science fiction thriller starring Johnny Depp as an artificial intelligence researcher, was a disappointing fourth with $11.2 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates provided by tracking firm Rentrak.

"Captain America", which stars Chris Evans as a scrawny World War Two reject given super powers from an experimental serum, is the latest superhero hit from Disney's Marvel Studios.

The film has earned a global total of $586 million, including more than $200 million domestically, since it started rolling out internationally on March 26, validating the strategy of distributor Disney to ramp up its pipeline of films featuring Marvel Comics super heroes.

"Rio 2" features the voices of Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway as blue Spix macaw birds, and follows recent big ticket weekends for animated films like "Frozen" and "The Lego Movie", which lured kids and their parents to movie theaters.

"Heaven is for Real" stars Greg Kinnear in the story of a young boy who claims he witnessed Heaven during emergency surgery. It opened on Wednesday night and was expected to total $28.5 million in ticket sales through Sunday, according to Sony, which distributed the film through its TriStar Pictures unit.

"This result is really terrific and far exceeded our expectations," said Rory Bruer, Sony's president of worldwide distribution, adding that the studio was hoping for a five-day total of around $20 million for the film, which only cost about $12 million to produce.   Continued...

Actress Scarlett Johansson (R) gestures to the crowd during an interview at the UK premiere of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier: at Shepherds Bush in London, March 20, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Hackett