“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” will no doubt be a box office hero this weekend, but just how much will the Marvel sequel earn?
The film — which features the return of Chris Evans in the title role — was initially tracking to earn a huge $80 or so in its debut weekend, but with largely positive reviews and buzz indicating that it's one of the best Marvel movies yet, it could rack up even more.
In fact, it's a very distinct possibility that it will even go as high as $100 million this weekend, boosted by showings in pricier 3D and IMAX formats.
The current record holder for biggest April debut is Universal”s 2011 sequel “Fast Five,” which opened to $86 million.
Opening a week earlier overseas, “Winter Soldier” has already debuted to a big $75.2 million in 32 markets.
At home, “Winter” is opening very wide, in some 3,900 theaters across the U.S. With little competition in April — “Rio 2” is this weekend's other big opener — it's a foregone conclusion that it will take in more than its 2011 predecessor in domestic sales.
“Captain America: The First Avenger” opened to $65 million in 2011, on its way to a strong domestic total of $176 million. The following year's “The Avengers” bowed to a record-breaking $207 million, and eventually topped $600 million domestically. The latter film boosted Cap's profile, along with Thor.
“The Winter Soldier” boasts a typically strong Marvel cast, including franchise vets Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and Sebastian Stan, plus newcomers Frank Grillo, Anthony Mackie, and screen legend Robert Redford.
Critically, the film is being hailed as one of Marvel's very best efforts.
Rotten Tomatoes currently has it at 89% (with a “top critics” score of 79%), which puts it just below “The Avengers” (92%) and the first “Iron Man” (93%).
Metacritic has it at a more modest 70%, which is still the highest score for any Marvel Studios film since “Iron Man.” Although “The Avengers” scored a very close 69%.
HitFix's own Drew McWeeny gave the film an A-, calling it “smart and engaging,” and labeling it as “the best action film out of the entire Marvel movie universe so far.”