Captain America managed to shield himself against a flock of singing parrots to claim the No. 1 spot at theaters for the second consecutive week.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier topped Rio 2 with $41.4 million this weekend, according to studio estimates from Rentrak.
Soldier has collected $159 million since its release last week. "It continues to impress," says Rentrak's Paul Dergarabedian.
Analysts projected a neck-and-neck race between sequels, which pitted fanboys against real girls and boys. Soldier's strong word-of-mouth was enough to repel an impressive run from Rio, which took second place with $39 million.
Forecasters projected about $36 million for the animated sequel, the latest kids' comedy in a year that's proven strong for family films. Ray Subers of
"Rio 2 enters the market at a time when March's family releases are starting to fade: Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Muppets Most Wanted," he says.
Like those movies, Rio was seen as the lighthearted choice of the weekend, he says. And new talent helped the film as well, Subers notes. "It adds Kristen Chenoweth, Andy Garcia and pop stars Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae, which helps differentiate it a bit."
Critics were split down the middle on Rio, voiced by Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg; about 50% of reviewers gave it a thumbs-up, according to movie website RottenTomatoes.com. But the film earned a solid "A" from moviegoers, according to pollsters CinemaScore, suggesting a strong run through Easter.
The two other newcomers of the weekend also fared better than expected. The horror film Oculus opened to $12 million, besting its $11 million forecast.
And Kevin Costner's Draft Day was expected to do $8 million, but took third place with $9.8 million.
The young adult sci-fi novel adaptation Divergent rounded out the top five with $7.5 million.
Final figures are due Monday.