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

Marvel’s latest epic opens internationally, but opening outside blockbuster season could stunt returns at the “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” box office.

Mar 31, 2014 at 1:48PM

Captain America The Winter Soldier Banner

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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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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