Captain America will have his hands full against both Batman and Superman in 2016.
But until then, the box office belongs to Marvel anytime one of its heroes hits the multiplex. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" held on to the top spot over the Easter holiday, fending off "Rio 2" (for a second time), the faith-based "Heaven Is for Real" and "Transcendence," a big-budget flop from Johnny Depp.
Game-changing Marvel Cinematic Universe hit "The Winter Soldier" crossed $200 million at the domestic box office on Sunday, with a worldwide tally of $586 million. The Cap stand-alone sequel is just $5 million away from passing "Thor: The Dark World" at home, bolstered no doubt by the inclusion of Black Widow, Falcon, the popular villain name-checked in the title and a beefed-up role for Nick Fury. (The whole jaw-dropping Hydra plot certainly doesn't hurt either.)
Speaking of superheroes, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" grabbed $47 million overseas, a week ahead of its domestic debut. The second entry in Sony's reboot of the beloved webslinger series sets up a mini-Marvel Universe of its own, populated by characters controlled by the studio's old-school deal with the comic creators. Fox controls the mutants of the "X-Men" corner of the Marvel Universe, but the studio lent a scene from "Days of Future Past" to Spidey's end credits.
Disney may not control the Spidey franchise, but Marvel's corporate parent had plenty to be happy about over the weekend. "Frozen" climbed past "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" on the all-time worldwide box-office chart, where it now sits at #6 with $1.12 billion.
"Rio 2" stayed in second place here at home with another $22.5 million, a steeper decline than the second weekend for the 2011 original.
The faith-based movie category received a new entry over the weekend in the form of "Heaven Is for Real," a modest-budget adaptation of the popular account of a young boy's near-death experience. The book was adapted by writer/director Randall Wallace, who wrote Mel Gibson's 1995 blockbuster, "Braveheart." Reviews from critics have been mixed, but the audiences who gave "Heaven Is for Real" its $21.5 million debut assigned it an "A" CinemaScore.
Johnny Depp's "Transcendence" opened at a distant fourth with an estimated $11.1 million. The production budget for the sci-fi dud was roughly ten times that, according to reports. "Transcendence" is one of the mega-star's worst-reviewed films, ranking toward the bottom near "The Astronaut's Wife" and "The Tourist." Depp's star is unlikely to fade anytime soon, with sequels to "Alice in Wonderland" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" both on his docket. But it's nevertheless certainly still a disappointment, given the highly publicized flop of last year's "The Lone Ranger," which opened to three times as much as "Transcendence."
Marlon Wayans' spoof-sequel "A Haunted House 2" rounded out the top five with a $9.1 million debut. That number might sound bad (it's half the opening of last year's original), but considering the film's $4 million production budget and the generally low expectations associated with the genre, it's fine.