Ever since The Avengers took Marvel’s premier film franchise to a whole new level of box-office success, the spillover for all the characters has been evident. Both Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World were significantly bigger than the predecessor titles, and now comes the turn of Captain America with sequel The Winter Soldier. Posting a five-day UK debut of £6.04m including previews of £1.85m, the film has openedwith more than double the £2.98m achieved by Captain America: The First Avenger in the last weekend of July 2011. Strip out those previews, however, and The Winter Soldier is a more modest 41% up on the first Captain America film.
The Winter Soldier has achieved the second-biggest opening of 2014 so far, behind The Lego Movie’s debut of £8.05m including £2.16m in previews. Stripping out previews, Winter Soldier also falls behind the opening salvo of The Wolf of Wall Street (£4.66m).
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The arrival of Captain America into a relatively becalmed market ensures that the current chart is the most polarised of any in 2014. Back in the second frame of January, 12 Years a Slave topped the chart with weekend box-office that was exactly five times the number earned by 10th-placed Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. In the frame just ended, in contrast, takings for The Winter Soldier are 56 times those of 10th-placed A Long Way Down.
Captain America: The First Avenger took only £9.48m throughout the course of its run, and Winter Soldier should sail past that tally this coming weekend. If it decays at the same rate as Thor: The Dark World (which debuted with £8.67m including £3.10m in previews), it should reach a cumulative total around £14m. However, the coming Easter holiday could see a strong sustain for The Winter Soldier, pushing it to greater heights.