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Weekend Box Office: 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Outflies 'Rio 2' for No. 1

Disney, Viacom, Lions Gate, and News Corp battle for box office supremacy.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" just topped the box office for the second weekend. Credit: Disney/Marvel.

Well, it turns out this weekend just wasn't one for the birds.

On Friday, I figured the arrival of Rio 2 would make for a close battle for first at the box office. And with an estimated debut weekend total of $39 million, the animated sequel from News Corp.  (NASDAQ: NWS  ) subsidiary Blue Sky Studios didn't disappoint.

However, Rio 2 was still no match for Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which commanded domestic audiences to spend another $41.4 million during its second weekend. That brings Winter Soldier's global total to $476.7 million, with roughly two-thirds coming from international movie-goers -- not too shabby by any measure, even when you consider Disney's lofty $170 million production budget. By comparison, Disney's $140 million effort with 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger yielded a still-respectable $370.6 million worldwide over its entire 16-week theatrical run.

Unfortunately, Rio 2 doesn't stack up nearly as well to its own 2011 predecessor, which cost just $90 million and opened slightly higher at $39.2 million. But don't take this to mean Rio 2 is a failure ... News Corp. still kept its budget in check -- relatively speaking anyway -- at $103 million. Moreover, the family-friendly film has already grossed another $124.3 million overseas the past two weeks, and polled audiences gave its a rare "A" CinemaScore. Over the longer-term, this means positive word of mouth should allow Rio 2 plenty of breathing room to drive up sales for its parent studio. All things considered, I wouldn't be surprised to see Rio 2 end somewhere between $450 million and $500 million a few months from now.

One winner, one loser
Meanwhile, Relativity Media's Oculus scored $12 million for third place, or a solid win given its tiny $5 million budget. Even so, it remains to be seen whether Oculus will be able to keep up any momentum with its mediocre "C" CinemaScore. Still, that's better than the "C-" earned by Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA  ) Paramount's fellow $5 million horror flick, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which opened to $18.3 million in January and closed just seven weeks later after grossing $86.4 million worldwide. If Oculus can merely keep pace with Viacom's similar horror spectacle, that'd put it at nearly $60 million by the end of June.

Disney, Viacom, Lions Gate, and News Corp battle for box office supremacy.

Draft Day suffered a slow start this weekend, Credit: Lions Gate

Coming in fourth with a weaker-than-expected $9.75 million was Lions Gate's (NYSE: LGF  ) Draft Day, which appeared to have a tough time bringing out anyone but hardcore football fans. That is, unless you count melancholy Field of Dreams viewers curious about whether Kevin Costner can still hold his own in a sports drama. In any case, we obviously shouldn't expect this one to make a killing from unfamiliar international movie-goers. If Draft Day doesn't demonstrate some serious box office legs in the weeks ahead, Lions Gate will have a tough time recouping its estimated $20 million to $25 million outlay.

Don't forget Divergent & Noah
On a more positive note, Lions Gate's Divergent held up well once again, falling roughly 42% in weekend four to $7.5 million and bringing its U.S. total to $124.9 million. Lions Gate is also ramping up Divergent's international launch this weekend, so you can bet I'll be watching closely over the next few days for its final figures to arrive. 

This also marks the first time Divergent has beaten Viacom's Noah since the biblical epic's release three weekends ago. Noah plunged a hard 56% week-over-week to $7.45 million, bringing the $125 million film's domestic gross to just $84.9 million. To Viacom's credit, however, Noah has performed well overseas the past few weeks, where it has derived nearly two-thirds of its $246.9 million cume. Noah might not be as massive a win as Viacom would have liked, but I still don't see it losing money in the end.

That's all for now, fellow Fools. Be sure to tune in throughout the week for more analysis both on where these movies are headed and what else the box office is bringing your way soon.

Your cable company is scared, but you can get rich
With all the focus on the big screen, it's easy to forget all of these companies are also fighting for attention in your living room after the curtains fall. Of course, you know cable is going away. But do you know how to profit when it does? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple. 


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