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'Captain America 2' brings in a heroic $9.57 million on Friday

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Apparently, it’s hard to keep a good soldier (and movie!) down: Captain America: The Winter Soldier brought in an estimated $9.57 million for Disney/Marvel on Friday night, keeping it in the top spot for its third week in release. The movie — directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and starring Chris Evans as the ever-likeable Steve Rogers — has been well-received by critics and audiences (it has an A Cinemascore) and is on pace to cross the magic $200 million mark this weekend.

Another holdover from a previous weekend, Rio 2 — which sees those chatty blue macaws (voiced by Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg) leave the city for a trip to the Amazon — took in $9.2 million. The holiday weekend may help fluff this film’s feathers.

In an ongoing trend of movies that the industry did not see coming, TriStar Pictures’ Heaven Is for Real — the faith-based drama based on the best-selling book by Pastor Todd Burpo and starring Greg Kinnear as a man whose son says he saw Heaven while unconscious during an operation — earned $7.85 million on Friday from 2,417 locations. Since debuting on Wednesday, it’s made $14.9 million and has an A CinemaScore. Seems very likely it will be following other recent faith-based hits such as God’s Not Dead and Son of God.

Unfortunately, the opening weekend  of Transcendence was much more of a downer. This techno-thriller has an awful lot going for it. There’s the stellar cast — Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, and Kate Mara — and the director, Wally Pfister, is Christopher Nolan’s longtime cinematographer. But audiences didn’t turn out for this story about a scientist (Depp) who has spent a large chunk of his career working on a top-secret sentient computer (yeah, no, this never ends well) but who ends up getting shot and uploading his consciousness to the computer. Depp used to be a pretty sure thing at the box office — think Capt. Jack and Willy Wonka — but tepid reviews may have kept audiences away. Our own Chris Nashawaty gave Transcendence a grade of C; you can and should read his review here, including his description of Depp looking “like a Pinhead from the Hellraiser films crossed with a Radio Shack Chia Pet.”

Rounding out the top five was A Haunted House 2, the Marlon Wayans-led sequel to — yes! — 2013’s A Haunted House, which earned $4.03 million on Friday. (EW’s Stephen Lee was not a fan, saying “The actual ghosts — and there are a lot of them — aren’t the real villains here. The real bad guy is Wayans, the star and writer, for assaulting us with witless, gratuitous visuals and pointlessly offensive gags.”)

Here’s how the top five movies looked on Friday:

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $9.57 million

2. Rio 2 – $9.2 million

3. Heaven is Real — $7.85 million

4. Transcendence – $4.82

5. A Haunted House 2– $4.03 million

Check back tomorrow for a full report.