"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014)

Marvel tentpole keeps hit streak alive for the Disney-owned brand

The Marvel machine continues to be a wonder at the box office, with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” amassing a whammo $203.3 million worldwide this weekend, of which an estimated $96.2 million came from Stateside plexes, making it the largest domestic debut ever in April.

To date, “Winter Soldier” has raked in an overwhelming $300 million-plus global tally, with several overseas territories bowing the pic last weekend. The film now is playing in approximately 92% of the international marketplace.

In China, “Winter Soldier” scored the largest opening for a Disney-Marvel film with $39.2 million, which is 16% larger than “Iron Man 3.” Russia and Australia also each contributed No. 1 bows locally, grossing $7.4 million and $6 million, respectively.

The huge Stateside opening for “Winter Soldier,” which included a benchmark $9.6 million from Imax (with 9 of the film’s top 10-grossing theaters) and $6.5 million from other premium-large format screens, is nearly 50% larger than the original’s opening in 2011. The Herculean improvement is attributed mostly to the inundation of the Marvel brand over the last few years.

“Records aside, this is a testament to the momentum created within the Marvel universe for each of these characters to become something greater than themselves,” said Disney distribution topper Dave Hollis, adding that the film is well positioned during spring break to take advantage of an already strong word-of-mouth play.

“When you have the critical and fan response, it feels like we’re set up for an extraordinary run ahead,” Hollis said.

That said, “Captain America” was unable to save 3D, which contributed just 23% domestically this weekend (outside Imax and PLF screens).

In non-“Cap” B.O. news, Paramount’s “Noah” dropped to second place, with $17 million, down roughly 60%, a much steeper drop than desired for the costly tentpole. Still, the Biblical epic has cumed $72.3 million domestically in two weeks, with a solid global gross of $178.5 million.

At the specialty box office, Fox Searchlight’s V.I.P. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” continues to cross over reaching $33.2 million in its fifth frame. The film again landed in the top 10 with an estimated weekend gross of $6.3 million from 1,263 locations, the second-widest expansion for a Wes Anderson film.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate-Codeblack Entertainment’s Halle Berry psychological drama “Frankie & Alice” scored an underwhelming $2,047 per screen average from 171 locations after languishing on the shelf for more than a year. The film estimated a total $350,000 in three days.

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