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.