Box Office: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Stays Strong as George Clooney’s ‘Money Monster’ Tests Starpower

For the second consecutive weekend, there’s no real contest at the U.S. box office as Disney-Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” will take at least $70 million in its sophomore session.

Sony’s George Clooney thriller “Money Monster,” directed by Jodie Foster, targets a more adult demo with its story of TV financial guru taken hostage. Testing whether George Clooney still has the goods to open a movie wide, it’s heading for about $10 million at more than 3,000 locations. Meanwhile BH Tilt’s horror-thriller “The Darkness” should gross about $4 million at 1,754 sites.

Captain America: Civil Waropened with $179.1 million, then added $13.2 million on Monday. Two similar Marvel titles — “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Iron Man 3” — both dropped 59% in their second weekends, so a similar decline will leave “Civil War” in the $75 million range.

All indications point to “Captain America: Civil War” joining the roster of ten titles that have exceeded $70 million in their second weekend. That list is headed by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $149 million, “Jurassic World” with $106.6 million, “Marvel’s The Avengers” with $103.1 million and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” with $77.7 million.

Six other titles — “Avatar,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Iron Man 3,” “Shrek 2” and “Spider-Man” — have topped $70 million in the second weekend in the U.S.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with ComScore, said that the strong reviews and A Cinemascore grade portend continued strong performance that could go above $80 million this weekend.

“Even though it doesn’t have ‘Avengers’ in the title, ‘Captain America’ has become a juggernaut simply because it’s so well liked,” he added. “And it puts ‘Money Monster’ and ‘The Darkness’ in the category of counter-programming.”

Sony is releasing “Money Monster” through its TriStar Pictures label on Friday, a day after its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie, which carries a $27 million production budget, marks Julia Roberts’ first time with a film at Cannes and Jodie Foster’s second film there as a director.

Clooney stars as a blustery TV host while Roberts portrays his producer. Jack O’Connell plays an irate investor who has lost everything and takes over the studio while on live TV.

“The Darkness,” directed by Greg McLean, will be taking advantage of the Friday the 13th release date along with selecting locations that are historically frequented by die-hard genre fans. BH Tilt is aiming at finding an efficient middle ground for select movies aimed squarely at the horror audience.

The marketing campaign has been created and overseen by John Hegeman at BH Tilt with funding from Universal. The spending was designed so that the film will be a financial success if it opens to $4 million to $5 million.

“The Darkness” centers on a young boy who secretly brings home five mysterious stones he finds in a desert cave, unleashing ancient Native American demons that terrorize his family in increasingly malevolent ways. Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell, David Mazouz, Lucy Fry and Paul Reiser star.

BH Tilt launched last year with Eli Roth’s “The Green Inferno,” which opened with $3.5 million at 1,543 sites and grossed $7 million domestically.

By contrast, “Captain America: Civil War” topped $700 million in worldwide grosses on Monday. With no serious competition until May 20 — when “Angry Birds,” “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” and “The Nice Guys” open — the tentpole has an excellent chance of topping the $1 billion milestone by the end of its run.

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