‘Captain America’ stays atop box office; ‘Transcendence’ is trounced

Robert Redford, left, and Chris Evans in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

Team U.S.A. dominated Easter weekend as Disney’s “Captain America: Winter Soldier” fended off its competition at the box office, holding onto the No. 1 spot for the third week in a row by drawing in $26.6 million.

Brazil came in second with 20th Century Fox’s animated family favorite “Rio 2" pulling in a solid $22.5 million.

Faith was not forgotten over the holiday weekend, as Sony TriStar’s “Heaven is for Real” opened at No. 3 with $21.5 million.

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The only story of disappointment came from Warner Bros.’ sci-fi thriller “Transcendence,” which stars Johnny Depp and took in a meager $11.2 million. The film cost $100 million to make and is yet another box-office stinker for Depp, whose last big-budget failure, “The Lone Ranger,” famously tanked in 2013.

“Transcendence” suffered from lukewarm reviews and tepid word of mouth. It got a dismal 20% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and earned a C-plus from CinemaScore, a company that polls moviegoers on opening night.

By contrast, all three box-office leaders received A ratings from CinemaScore, with the top dog, “Captain America,” getting solid reviews and an 89% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Captain America” further proved Marvel’s mettle, becoming the 12th Marvel film to cross the $200-million mark at the domestic box office.

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A superhero of another sort -- God -- has also held sway at the box office in 2014, with “Heaven is for Real” marking the fourth in a series of faith-based features that includes “Noah,” “God’s Not Dead” and “Son of God.”

With its strong early numbers and A grade from CinemaScore, “Heaven is for Real” looks poised to be the most successful of the films, and that’s exactly what Sony’s TriStar was hoping for.

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, the film stars Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly, and is about a father who works to share his son’s experience of the afterlife when he narrowly escapes death. The film wasn’t marketed only to the faithful, and its distributors’ hope that it would appeal to a wide audience paid off.

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“We had a lot of screenings of the film and what we found early on is that it not only played well to a faith-based audience, but received similar scores with a mainstream audience,” said Sony’s president of worldwide distribution, Rory Bruer, on Sunday morning. “No matter what you believe, I think it’s part of the human element to have a question of what is beyond this life, and it’s something that people revel in talking about.”

Spookiness rounded out the top five in the box office, with “A Haunted House 2" drawing a modest but welcome $9.1 million.

Still, the low-budget Open Road comedy/horror film pulled in significantly less than the first film, “A Haunted House,” which opened in 2013 with $18 million in ticket sales.


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