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Box Office Brasserie:
Movie News for Movie Lovers

Marvel super hero. Check. Legions of fanboys salivating. Check. Possible $100-million debut. Check. Yes, by the sound of things, we should be talking about the official start of summer films, right? Wrong-O, Daddy-O. Spring is still the thing, but you wouldn’t know it with Marvel showcasing “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” in cinemas; it walks, talks, and acts like a bonafide big-budget blockbuster…because it is…all $170M of it.

Captain America commandeers center stage in theaters this weekend and could be taking this month to new box office heights, as the #1 April debut of all-time is “Fast Five”  with “$86M…certainly a number that is within Marvel’s blast-range.

In fact, “Thor: The Dark World” nearly hit that exact number this fall, dropping the hammer with $85.7M after the original rolled out to $65M. “Captain America: The First Avenger” also debuted at $65M, so it’s pretty obvious we’re looking at an opening of $85+M–and with all the chatter about “The Winter Soldier” being a lead-in to “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” next summer, well, that could be just the juice-boost it needs to flirt with $100M.

And, with no other studio daring to take on Disney’s latest runaway hit–it grossed $75M overseas this past weekend–it sets up the perfect storm for the film to really rake in the box office as it, like Captain America, goes at it solo (sort of). That scenario is one that often propels films to new heights, and in 3,938 theaters, expect Cap to blast through with nearly $95M.

Yeah, summer in April folks…get used to it…this is pretty much going to be the standard from here on out as May through August gets so jam packed, that studios are beginning to think outside the box office and are starting to roll out the big guns earlier and earlier.

Boom! That sound you heard was Disney stealing Sony’s thunder, as “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” may not see a debut as high as “Captain America,” even though it kicks off what is Hollywood’s traditional summer.

While it may not be raining blockbusters yet this April, we’re in full-on cats & dogs mode in limited release, as no less than a dozen new films fight for arthouse supremacy. Included are a double dip from Weinstein Co., “The Players” and “On the Other Side of the Tracks,” each in 50 theaters and Lionsgate’s 2010 drama, “Frankie & Alice,” starring Halle Berry and Stellan Skarsgard, which inexplicably opens in 171 theaters.

And, oh yeah, for those of you who just had to have more Lars von Trier, “Nymphomaniac: Volume 2,” further explores hot buttons and erogenous zones in 30 theaters…and is also available on VOD.

On top of all that indie action, Freestyle’s hit faith-based flick, “God’s Not Dead,” just keeps expanding–adding another 587 sites (1,765 total)–as does Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” which checks into its widest release yet in 1,265 venues.

“God’s Not Dead” has grossed $24M, while “The Grand Budapest Hotel” has already snagged $26M–massive totals for independent films.

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WEEKEND ESTIMATES

  1. CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER – $92M
  2. NOAH – $23M
  3. DIVERGENT – $14M
  4. MUPPETS MOST WANTED – $7M
  5. GOD’S NOT DEAD – $7M

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SPLICE OF LIFE: BLURBS, BLIPS, CUTS & CLIPS

CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Universal’s “LUCY” (Aug. 8, 2014)

When this trailer debuted at CinemaCon, everyone in the audience immediately forgot how jipped we all felt when Universal teased a lone graphic of “Jurassic World,” accompanied by a few dinosaur sounds, and instead were captivated by Luc Besson’s hybrid action flick that came off as “Limitless” meets “Species” meets “The Transporter.” That’s an action stew I’d like to triple dip my ladle in! I believe that was an actual quote from a dude behind me.

Scarlett Johansson has shown that with Marvel’s Black Widow she’s an action heroine in the same leagues as Angelina Jolie and Milla Jovovich, but with “Lucy” she finally has the vehicle to prove it at the box office as she’ll be carrying this one all by herself…well, Morgan Freeman shows up for moral support…but he’s good like that.

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CHOICE CLIP OF THE WEEK: Lionsgate’s “THE EXPENDABLES 3” (Aug. 15, 2014)

When Sly Stallone throws you a lifeline, you best grab it. The new ExtenZables line-up of Action Jacksons include: Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, and Kelsey Grammer?!? What more could you want…I mean…besides Steven Seagal, Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Roundtree. Next time, boys…and girls.

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HOME SLICE OF THE WEEK: “DARK VENGEANCE”

It’s pretty obvious why Seagal couldn’t be in “The Expendables 3,” because he was hard at work making his own brand of straight-to-Redbox justice. Folks, he just hasn’t stopped throwing jabs since the early 90’s and he never will. On second thought, save your $1.20–seeing the trailer is probably enough Seagal this decade.

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Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.

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“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Poster Courtesy of Marvel/Walt Disney Pictures; Poster Designed By BLT