"Captain America'' continued to flex its Marvel muscle at the global box office, as "The Winter Soldier'' took in $41.4 million domestically and $60.6 million overseas.
The strong second-week performance for the Walt Disney release in North America was enough to narrowly edge 20th Century Fox's "Rio 2'' in a springtime battle of sequels. The animated Amazon jungle tale "Rio 2'' debuted with $39 million, according to studio estimates Sunday, almost exactly the opening weekend total of the 2011 Oscar-nominated original.
But "Captain America'' has grown considerably in stature since its 2011 original, "The First Avenger.'' With a global cumulative total of nearly $477 million, "The Winter Soldier'' has (in two weeks domestically, three weeks internationally) easily surpassed the $370 million total of "The First Avenger.''
For a superhero whose costume is draped with the U.S. flag, Captain America (played by Chris Evans) has proven particularly popular abroad. The international appeal of such a traditionally patriot figure was once doubted.
"The traditional rules just don't apply anymore. It's really about that Marvel brand,'' said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. "Captain America' can play in Peoria just as well as Hong Kong.''
Two other new releases opened in a distant third and fourth place.
The low-budget supernatural horror film "Oculus'' took in $12 million for Relativity Media.
The football drama "Draft Day,'' starring Kevin Costner and directed by Ivan Reitman, debuted weakly with $9.8 million. Made with the cooperation of the National Football League, the Lionsgate release is the second movie this year, along with the thriller ``3 Days to Kill,'' to attempt to restore the 59-year-old Costner to leading man status.
The overall box office for the year is up more than 7 percent over 2013's record box-office haul. The month of April has been propelled especially by the summer-style release of "The Winter Soldier'' and a number of less likely successes.
With $39.5 million domestically, the Wes Anderson caper "The Grand Budapest Hotel'' has performed exceptionally in a gradual release by Fox Searchlight. The independently released Christian film ``God's Not Dead,'' from Freestyle Releasing, has made a whopping $40.7 million in four weeks.
Just holding in the top five was Lionsgate's teen science-fiction franchise-starter ``Divergent,'' which added $7.5 million in its fourth week to bring its cumulative total to $124.9 million. Lionsgate announced Friday that the third installment in the series (a sequel for 2015 is already in the works) will be split into two