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‘Captain America’ Sequel Set to Break April Record at the Box Office

'Winter Soldier' extends winning streak for Disney-owned Marvel brand

After blowing up on the international scene last weekend, with $75 million-plus from 32 territories, Disney-Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” aims its guns Stateside, targeting a projected $90 million bow or higher.

The expected launch for the “Captain America” sequel would make it the largest April bow ever domestically, eclipsing Universal’s “Fast Five,” which bowed to $86 million-plus in 2011. And while the Stateside start for “Winter Soldier” will be huge regardless, the fact that it still falls short of the biggest Marvel openings speaks to the high consistency of the Disney-owned brand.

Internationally, “Winter Soldier,” which opened roughly 88% higher than the original from the same bucket of debut territories, expands to Russia, Australia and China this weekend. The film also bows this weekend at 668 Imax screens globally, a day-and-date company record.

With “Winter Soldier” set to dominate the domestic market place, there are no other new pics daring to open wide, though Fox Searchlight is broadening “The Grand Budapest Hotel” to more than 1,250 locations, marking the widest expansion for a Wes Anderson film outside of “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” which benefited from having family appeal in 2009.

“Grand Budapest Hotel” has become a major B.O. player lately, having grossed more than $73 million and counting worldwide.

Hoping not to get plowed by the “Captain America” steamroller, Paramount’s “Noah” looks to adults to boost holdover business. The Biblical epic got off to a strong start last weekend, grossing $43.7 million domestically, with global totals crossing the nine-figure mark through Wednesday.

There is no doubt that “Winter Soldier” will be a giant this weekend. The question is just how big will it hit?

The global appeal for the First Avenger has soared since the initial “Captain” was introduced in 2011, thanks to the record-smashing success of “The Avengers,” as well as the continued roll-out of subsequent Avengers stand-alone pics including “Thor: The Dark World,” which grossed more than $640 million worldwide.

Some B.O. observers are more cautious anticipating an opening closer to $85 million, especially with only a limited percentage of students still on spring break. As of March 31, only 17% of K-12 students were out of school, while just 8% of colleges were on break, according to Rentrak.

Regardless, “Winter Soldier” should see a strong Friday-Saturday uptick, based on word-of-mouth and solid reviews. Pic has scored an 89% rating so far on Rotten Tomatoes vs. the first “Captain America,” which ended with a 79% appraisal.

At the specialty box office, Codeblack Films, a Lionsgate-owned label targeting mostly urban markets, launches Halle Berry long-delayed drama “Frankie & Alice” at 166 domestic engagements, with advanced screenings beginning Thursday at 10 p.m.

SEE ALSO: Why Did Halle Berry’s ‘Frankie & Alice’ Languish on the Shelf?

Also, the Weinstein Co. bows limited two French comedies — Omar Sy-starrer “On the Other Side of the Tracks” and “The Player,” toplinging Jean Dujardin — at 50 locations each.

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