LOS ANGELES — In a battle of the sequels, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” retained its superhero grip at the weekend box office, finishing No. 1 and beating the animated “Rio 2” by a slim margin.
“Captain America” grossed a studio-estimated $41.4 million in its second weekend, down 56 percent from its $95 million opening. The Marvel superhero movie, released by Disney, has a domestic haul of $159 million.
The 3-D sequel is already close to matching the total $176.7 million domestic take of 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger.”
Fox’s “Rio 2” drew $39 million in its opening weekend, virtually the same amount that the first “Rio” collected when it opened in spring 2011.
The ornithologically themed sequel fell just shy of projections that it would gross $40 million to $45 million this weekend. “We had a terrific Friday followed by a much softer-than-expected Saturday,” said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution at Fox.
He said viewers reacted positively to the movie, with an audience score of “A” from survey firm Cinemascore. Fox expects the movie to perform strongly during the upcoming spring holidays, when many students are off from school.
The low-budget horror movie “Oculus” premiered at $12 million to take the No. 3 spot. The Relativity release had an estimated production budget of just $5 million. It received an audience grade of “C” from Cinemascore.
“Draft Day,” starring Kevin Costner, finished in fourth place with an estimated $9.8 million in its opening weekend. The Ivan Reitman-directed movie follows the general manager of the Cleveland Browns as he juggles the NFL draft and a series of personal crises.
The Lionsgate release is the fourth Costner movie to open in the last 12 months, as the Oscar winner attempts a comeback after a period of box-office disappointments.
In its fourth weekend, “Divergent” saw its box office fall 42 percent to $7.5 million, bringing its cumulative domestic haul to $124.9 million.
Paramount’s “Noah,” the Old Testament-inspired epic starring Russell Crowe, dropped from No. 2 to No. 6 with $7.5 million. The movie has grossed $84.9 million domestically.
“God’s Not Dead,” another faith-based movie, earned $5.5 million over the weekend, bringing its total to $40.7 million. The drama was made for an estimated $2 million.
Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” grossed $4.1 million, taking its cumulative domestic gross to just under $40 million. Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted” brought in $2.2 million over the weekend.