NEW YORK -- "Captain America" continued to flex its Marvel muscle at the global box office, as "The Winter Soldier" took in $41.4 million domestically and $60.6 million overseas.
The strong second-week performance for the Walt Disney release in North America was enough to narrowly edge 20th Century Fox’s "Rio 2" in a springtime battle of sequels. The animated Amazon jungle tale "Rio 2" debuted with $39 million, almost exactly the opening weekend total of the 2011 Oscar-nominated original.
But "Captain America" has grown considerably in stature since its 2011 original, "The First Avenger." With a global cumulative total of nearly $477 million, "The Winter Soldier" has (in two weeks domestically, three weeks internationally) easily surpassed the $370 million total of "The First Avenger."
For a superhero whose costume is draped with the U.S. flag, Captain America (played by Chris Evans) has proven particularly popular abroad. The international appeal of such a traditionally patriot figure was once doubted.
"The traditional rules just don’t apply anymore. It’s really about that Marvel brand," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. " ‘Captain America’ can play in Peoria just as well as Hong Kong."
"Rio 2," with a voice cast including Anne Hathaway and Jessie Eisenberg, also played well internationally. In its second week of release overseas, it made $62.5 million.
Two other new releases opened in a distant third and fourth place.
The low-budget supernatural horror film "Oculus" took in $12 million for Relativity Media.
The football drama "Draft Day," starring Kevin Costner and directed by Ivan Reitman, debuted weakly with $9.8 million.
With $39.5 million domestically, the Wes Anderson caper "The Grand Budapest Hotel" has performed exceptionally in a gradual release by Fox Searchlight. The independently released Christian film "God’s Not Dead," from Freestyle Releasing, has made a whopping $40.7 million in four weeks.
Just holding in the top five was Lionsgate’s teen sci-fi franchise-starter "Divergent," which added $7.5 million in its fourth week to bring its cumulative total to $124.9 million.
The overall box office for the year is up more than 7 percent over 2013’s record box-office haul. The month of April has been propelled especially by the summer-style release of "The Winter Soldier" and a number of less likely successes.