Superhero sequel "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" soared in its opening weekend to a record-breaking $96.2 million in North America and an early worldwide total of $303.3 million.

The $170-million 3-D film, starring Chris Evans as the shield-bearing superhero and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, was the top April opening of all time and more successful than its 2011 predecessor "Captain America: The First Avenger," which made $65 million in its first three days.

Internationally, the sequel was also highly successful, generating $207.1 million in its first 10 days overseas.

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"It's extraordinary," said Dave Hollis, Disney's head of distribution. "The response has been fantastic ... coming out in April and setting a record is truly a great thing."

The film, which opened in 3,938 locations in the U.S., got an A on CinemaScore and 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience was made up of mostly men (64%), people over 25 years of age (57%) and couples (58%).

Hollis partially attributes the success to the film's universal story line.

"There's a contemporary feel with the overall story," he said. "It's not just an action movie but a character story."

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saba.hamedy@latimes.com

Twitter: @saba_h