‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Box Office Impresses, But Iron Man and Thor Prove Mightier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier box offices opened in 32 territories over the weekend. The film debuts here in the U.S. on Friday, April 4. Credit: Marvel Entertainment.

In the comics, Iron Man, Thor, and The Hulk were always the mightiest among Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Turns out that's also true at theaters. With a $75.2 million overseas open, Captain America: The Winter Soldier box office is (so far) the worst of Marvel's Phase 2 peers:

Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The Winter Soldier

International opening

$198.4 million

$109.4 million

$75.2 million

No. of territories




Opening date

April 24, 2013

Oct. 30, 2013

March 26, 2014

Sources: IMDB, The Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap.

Yet that's not as bad as it sounds for Marvel or Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) investors. Why? Iron Man 3 opened in late April-early May 2013 while Thor: The Dark World opened Halloween weekend. Both are notoriously strong seasons for action adventure films.

But don't take my word for it. Here's a closer look at April versus May and November, according to data supplied by Box Office Mojo:

  • April 3-year average gross = $640.03 million

  • May 3-year average gross = $1,278.53 million

  • November 3-year average gross = $1,346.60 million

To be fair, these figures are for domestic rather foreign box office performance. And yet the broader point is that April is traditionally a tough month for big-ticket action flicks. Recent history says the Captain America: The Winter Soldier box office should find it difficult to produce half the haul of Iron Man 3 or even get within spitting distance of Thor: The Dark World.

As it stands now, Cap's latest adventure is already tracking to earn 38% of what the Iron Man threequel did and 69% of The Dark World's haul while opening in fewer territories. In each case, current figures say Disney investors can expect theatergoers to spend at least $440 million worldwide at the Captain America: The Winter Soldier box office -- with upside to $600 million or more if the movie earns a coveted 'A' CinemaScore.

Do you agree? Are you planning on seeing the movie when it opens in U.S. theaters this weekend? Please make your prediction for the Captain America: The Winter Soldier box office in the comments below, and also let us know if you would buy, sell, or short Disney stock at current prices.

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Read/Post Comments (13) | Recommend This Article (1)

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  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 1:55 PM, BxBruce007 wrote:

    Yes, April weaker than May, but, has it occurred to you that the character's name is Captain AMERICA and, just maybe, his worldwide appeal is not the same as his domestic appeal?

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 2:41 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:


    >> ...has it occurred to you that the character's name is Captain AMERICA and, just maybe, his worldwide appeal is not the same as his domestic appeal?

    Of course, but we also have plenty of history for the MCU franchise and we know that the biggest earnings are found overseas:

    Heck, that's even true of "Captain America: The First Avenger," which didn't get the same "Avengers" tailwind that "Thor: The Dark World" did:

    My point? it would be a mistake to over-emphasize the domestic box office for any Marvel Studios property, including this one.

    Foolish best,



    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 3:45 PM, trueLuminus wrote:

    Am I missing something here? Both Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 opened in more territories than Captain America 2, so a proper comparison can't be made here. Cap isn't doing worse. It just opened in LESS territories.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 4:38 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:


    >>Cap isn't doing worse. It just opened in LESS territories.

    I don't want to belabor this because my point isn't that Cap is doing worse, but that the film is doing *extremely well* given history and the timing.

    That said, The Winter Soldier did open worse if you average the revenue per territory:

    IM3 = 4.72 mil.

    Thor TDW = 3.04 mil.

    Cap = 2.35 mil.

    FWIW and Foolish best,



    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2014, at 4:49 PM, Scarlette1126 wrote:

    I'm not a fan of Captain America it Chris Evans. So no I'll wait or Avengers 2 when Iron Man and Pepper are back.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2014, at 12:12 AM, theraft42 wrote:

    First: the Big Three in the comics have always been Thor, Cap and Tony. Not Hulk. Tony and Hulk don't even like each other in the comics.

    Second: No-one ever expected CA:TWS to do IM3 money.

    The only ones that do are the reporters and pundits. Get outside into the real world and ask regular people instead of merely citing facts and figures. IM3 made historic box but a good 80% of comic fans hated it. Worst of the trilogy. Total assassination of Tony's character. Complete disaster but looking just at figures on paper it looks like the best.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2014, at 12:14 AM, theraft42 wrote:

    @scarlett1126: You'll be waiting a while then since Pepper won't be in AOU.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2014, at 12:18 AM, KCurtis wrote:

    It will be a big mistake to not go and see Captain America: The Winter soldier. It is 10,000 times better than the first one and 20,000 times better than that Thor mess. It was a good time. And for those with kids especially younger than 13, a test viewing should be done then make an informed decision. It was an excellent ride.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2014, at 12:26 AM, delfra wrote:

    I think 'Winter Soldier' is and will do just fine. I think it will display stronger legs than 'Thor 2' did and might even display stronger legs than 'Iron Man 3' based on the stellar reviews and strong buzz the film is getting. Sure it definitely won't make "Iron Man 3" numbers, but it doesn't have to, it's just has to do well which it well. I think it hits 600 million for sure in part due to a lack of real competition until TASM3 opens a month later. If audience attendance follows the critical acclaim and big buzz it's getting, 700-800 million worldwide might not be out the question.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2014, at 8:29 AM, Allend406 wrote:

    It is the furthest removed from the avengers, also did not get as much quality screen time as Iron Man, or Thor.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2014, at 11:12 AM, TheFume wrote:

    Iron Man 3 may have had solid numbers, but the movie wasn't good enough for me to see multiple times at the theater. Captain America looks to be a multiple viewing for me at the theater. Already have planned viewings with 2 sets of friends. Captain America will dominate the box office. I'm betting upwards of 800 mil. by the time it's done at the theater.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 10:26 AM, AcuraT wrote:

    Tim, doing a one to one comparions between territories is not a very exact science. In particular, we don't know from the data here what territories overlap. If Iron Man 3 opened internaionally with the lion share in Europe, and Captain America opened in fewer countries and most were in Asia, that would impact numbers as well. Perhaps you have insight if the countries actually overlap so that has been factored in, or is that not released by the box office? Thanks.

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2014, at 6:48 AM, Rebecky wrote:

    I have already watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the end credits left me amazed. It will definitely catch up, I have full faith! :D Captain America will dominate the box office if not now, eventually!

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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