Pop Culture

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' soars to new box office record

Continuing Marvel and Disney's enviable winning streak, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is making history at the global box office, debuting to a record-breaking $96.2 million in North America for an early worldwide total of $303.3 million.

In only 10 days overseas, the sequel has already taken in $207.1 million — eclipsing the entire foreign run of "Captain America: The First Avenger" ($193.9 million). Domestically, "Captain America 2," playing in 3,938 locations, scored the top April opening of all time. The film has a strong shot of surpassing the entire global gross of "The First Avenger" ($370.6 million) by the end of next weekend.

Universal's 2011 "Fast Five" was the previous record-holder for top April opening ($86.2 million).

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Thanks to the strong launch of Captain America 2 — which essentially kicks off the summer box office a month early — revenue was up 22 percent year-over-year, while Disney crossed the $1 billion mark globally in terms of 2014 ticket sales (adding icing to the cake, "Frozen" surpassed "The Dark Knight" over the weekend to become the No. 9 top-grossing film of all time worldwide).

"Captain America 2," directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, nabbed an A CinemaScore across all demos, as well as stellar reviews from critics.

"This start is fantastic. Between the critical response and the CinemaScore, this gives us a lot of hope for how we will continue to play, considering the relative lack of competition and the benefit of three more weeks of spring break, both in the U.S. and overseas," said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis.

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Overseas, where it opened ahead of its North American launch, the $170 million tentpole took in $107.1 million for the weekend from 50 markets, including a $39.2 million opening in China.

The follow-up is certainly benefiting from the post-Avengers glow. Like the first "Thor," "The First Avenger" launched to roughly $65 million domestically in July 2011. But the wild success of 2012's "The Avengers" has seen fortunes rise for the "Iron Man" and "Thor" franchises.

Returning Chris Evans in the title role, as well as "Avengers" stars Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson, "Captain America 2" picks up two years after "Avengers" left off. Captain America and Black Widow (Johansson) discover there is a secret conspiracy within S.H.I.E.L.D. and fight to stop it, along with The Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie. (Some critics have described the film as an intriguing espionage tale, versus never-ending action.) The villainous Winter Soldier is played by Sebastian Stan.

Read the full story on THR.com.