While "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" has been playing in overseas markets for a week, the Marvel icon has finally returned to his home turf, where the sequel received a hero's welcome. 

"The Winter Soldier" earned a stellar $10.2 million at the box office on Thursday night from midnight showings.

The numbers put it well ahead of the first "Captain America" film, which reaped some $4 million from midnight showings. 

For comparison's sake, "Thor: The Dark World" earned $7.1 million on its first Thursday last year, while “Man of Steel" earned $9 million. However, 2012's "The Avengers" picked up $18.7 million from midnight showings, and that's still nowhere near the record holders in the "Twilight" ($30.3 million) and "Harry Potter" ($43.5 million) franchises. 

"Winter" should have no trouble clearing $90 million for the weekend, but could go as high as $100 million. It will likely pass "Fast Five's" current $86 million record to become the biggest April opener of all-time. 

"Winter Soldier" pretty much has this weekend to itself, as the family-friendly animated film "Rio 2" and the Kevin Costner football drama "Draft Day" both open next week. Holdovers "Noah" and "Divergent" will also attract sizable crowds this weekend, but won't pose much of a threat.

"Winter" stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford and Frank Grillo. 

Cap will return in 2015's "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," and in a third solo film.

Look for continuing box office updates throughout the weekend on HitFix. 

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