A tight race between Disney-Marvel’s holdover “Captain America: The Winter Solder” and Fox-Blue Sky Studios’ “Rio 2” is shaping up at the weekend’s domestic box office, with both films tracking in the high-$30 millions to low-$40 millions range.
Observers anticipate that “Rio 2” should at least match the Stateside opening of its predecessor, which grossed $39.3 million in 2011. If “Winter Soldier” drops 55% in its second frame, it will land with approximately $43 million through Sunday. More conservative expectations, however, suggest the holdover may fall around 60%, which would translate to a $38 million weekend gross.
Word of mouth for the Marvel tentpole has been exceptional, with strong mid-week grosses headed into the Easter holiday. It could see a hold of just less than 60%, comparable to the first two “Iron Man” films.
To date, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” has amassed a whopping $363 million globally.
Though “Captain America” and “Rio 2” each represent about 25% of ticket sales on Thursday, according to online ticketer Fandango, the former film has a slight edge entering its second frame appealing to an older crowd. Cannibalization between the two should be minimal, however. “Rio 2″ will dominate with families, while Captain America” relied on other demos last weekend.
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Among other new openers, “Oculus,” from Relativity Media, Blumhouse Prods and WWE Studios, should attract mostly under-25 auds, with projections in the $12 million-$15 million range, while Lionsgate’s adult male-targeted “Draft Day” is expected to earn roughly the same in three days.
Sony Pictures Classics expands fan-favorite actioner “The Raid 2” to 954 locations in its third weekend, up from just 26. So far, the sequel has grossed only $351,766, though its predecessor wound up legging out to north of $4 million domestically in 2012.
“Rio 2” has collected around $60 million from just 12 overseas markets, including leaders Brazil, Germany, Russia, Spain and the U.K. Fox expands the film this weekend to 55 markets, the largest of which are China and Mexico.
Domestically, the toon will benefit from 9% of K-12 students out of school on Friday; that share increases to about 20% next week.
For “Draft Day,” starring Kevin Costner, Lionsgate inked key partnerships with TV sports networks, as well as promotions with male-driven brands including Papa John’s and Bud Light. Relativity, meanwhile, screened “Oculus” in a five-city tour on college campuses.
At the specialty box office, Roadside Attractions launches David Gordon Green’s Southern thriller “Joe,” toplining Nicolas Cage, at 48 locations. The film, which premiered last year at the Venice Film Festival, could spark a resurgence for Cage, who works frequently but has seen some box office disappointments lately.
Also, Entertainment One launches comedy spoof “Cuban Fury” at 79 theaters in six domestic markets. The film stars Nick Frost, Rashida Jones, Chris O’Dowd and Ian McShane.