Box Office: ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Scores Second-Biggest Opening With $187.7 Million

Avengers Age of ultron Movie
Courtesy of Marvel

Avengers: Age of Ultron” scored the second-biggest domestic opening in history this weekend, kicking off summer blockbuster season with a mammoth $187.7 million debut.

Globally, the film is a juggernaut, pulling in an estimated $627 million in 12 days of release. At that pace, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” should pass $1 billion, particularly after it opens in China on May 12.

One record remained tantalizingly out of grasp for Captain America, Iron Man and company, however. Going into the weekend many analysts predicted that “Avengers: Age of Ultron” would top the $207.4 million haul posted in 2012 by the first film in the super-team series. That box office high-water mark will stand… at least until “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” lands in theaters this Christmas.

Part of the issue may have been weaker reviews than the first “Avengers” film, as well as competition from the NBA playoffs, the Kentucky Derby and the hotly anticipated boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

The “Avengers: Age of Ultron” results are still an astonishing feat and a testament to the powerful sway that Disney and Marvel have over moviegoers around the world. The three biggest North American debuts in history are now all Marvel movies, with “Avengers: Age of Ultron” displacing “Iron Man 3” and its $174.1 million opening from its runner-up perch on the all-time list.

“It would be a shame to see headlines saying ‘Avengers 2’ fails by not setting opening weekend records,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “This is still a massive debut, but there’s something about the movie industry where people feel every weekend should set a new record.”

Roughly $18 million of “Avengers'” opening weekend loot came from 364 Imax screens, while premium large format screens scored a record $13.5 million haul. The film played broadly across demographic categories. Roughly 59% of the audience was male, 41% was 25 years and older, 12% were teenagers and 22% were families. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” carries $250 million in production costs and screened in 4,276 North American locations.

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes didn’t leave much left over for other films in the marketplace. A vast chasm exists between the first and second place finishers on the domestic charts, with “Age of Adaline” clocking in behind “Avengers: Age of Ultron” with $6.3 million, bringing Lionsgate’s romantic fantasy’s total to $23.4 million.

Universal’s “Furious 7” nabbed third place with $6.1 million, bringing its stateside plunder to $330.5 million. The action sequel is now the fourth highest-grossing film of all time on a worldwide basis with $1.4 billion in tickets sold.

Fourth place went to Sony’s “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” at roughly $5.4 million, bringing its domestic score to $51 million, while DreamWorks Animation’s “Home” came in fifth with $3.3 million pushing its total to $158.1 million.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight’s “Far From the Madding Crowd” grossed $172,000 from five markets over in its opening weekend for a per screen average of $17,200. The indie label will add 19 new markets next weekend and plans to get to approximately 95 theaters by the Mother’s Day weekend. Fox Searchlight used the same weekend last year to launch “Belle,” another art house film pegged at older, affluent female crowds.

“It’s a classic, beautifully shot period piece and we feel that it’s a film that will work perfectly for Mother’s Day,” said Frank Rodriguez, senior vice president of distribution at Fox Searchlight.

The overall box office topped out at $227 million thanks largely to the costumed heroes. That represented a sizable 47.3% increase over the same weekend last year when “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” bowed to $91.6 million.

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  1. Hommy says:

    Hi people welcome to the new world

  2. I want to know where they get the numbers for the statistical data that they are accounting for. They stated 59% of viewers for Age of Ultron were male. I went and seen it and I don’t remember any survey that I would have had to take for them to get these numbers. I used my debit card but it doesn’t store my sex on my debit card. Surely they don’t have someone staring at cameras counting each male or female either because there are a lot of transexuals out there. Just saying. Statistics thrown out like that makes me wonder. All lies. They have no idea.

  3. filmsharks says:

    The Mayweather/Pacquiao fight had an effect on ticket sales. If you want to see a better sci-fi thriller than ‘Ultron’ dealing with robots and artificial intelligence, check out ‘Ex Machina.’

  4. Gabriel says:

    So the weekend isn’t complete and you’re already claiming to know how much money it made…on the weekend? How does that work?

  5. LOL says:

    This marks the moment superhero fatigue began in America.

  6. man1985 says:

    Its incredible how much business the sports-filled Saturday took from Ultron. Based on Thursday midnight numbers this movie was already $9 million ahead of the first Avengers. Even the most modest prediction based on those numbers (not taking the fight into account mind you) would be $220-$225 million.

    That means the fight ended up causing the movie nearly $30-35 million this weekend. Wow. I was driving around during the fight too. Passed by the local theater…. it was a complete ghost town.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, those will be the talking points, but I’m pretty sure superhero fatigue is playing a bigger role. We’ll find out when the theatrical run finishes up – by then, whoever was watching boxing (or horse racing – give me a break) will have a chance to catch the film.

      I don’t know the demographics for boxing fans, but I’d be curious about the overlap with those of frequent moviegoers. It would be easier to quantify the impact that way.

      • Richard says:

        Going into the weekend I was doubtful sports would make any difference but I was in wedding this weekend so I saw it Thursday knowingly would be hard to find time during the weekend. It was an early afternoon sat wedding but at the reception all activities stopped for the Derby and later folks ponied up $100 for the fight. I couldn’t believe how much most of the guys were hyped about the fight, many commented so much to do this weekend including trying to see Ultron. I do believe a bit of fatigue is envolved in the form of the first movie being a unique first time build up to a hero team up and superhero movie wise it is not uncommon for the sequel no matter the quality to do substantially less.

      • Jedi77 says:

        No fatigue, just less repeat business. Anyone will tell you you don’t make 600 milion without heavy repeat business. Ultron will have less of that. No fatigue, just a slightly less good film is all.

    • me says:

      Where do you live, Chernobyl?

  7. Perfik says:

    Where did you get this numbers? Its second opening this year (Furious 7 had $191,930,470) and 11th in history (after The Twilight Saga: New Moon with $188,077,665).

    “The three biggest North American debuts in history are now all Marvel movies”

    1. The Avengers – $270,019,373
    2. The Dark Knight – $238,615,211
    3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – $226,117,069

    • Rice says:

      Those are totals from a full week rather than just opening weekend.

    • therealeverton says:

      Opening weekends, opening weekends… They are right and you are wrong.

    • Perfik says:

      My bed. I was checkin first week :)

      • Armchair Data Scientist says:

        Kudos for admitting your mistake, I wish more people would do this. Speaking of which, I’d like Variety to do an analysis of the large swings in expected opening weekend grosses for Ultron. This is happening pretty frequently, and I think the studios and entertainment press are falling for social media hucksters.

        There needs to be more in-depth analysis of Facebook likes and Twitter trends – you can’t just use sheer numbers to predict buying power. Nielsen understood this concept long ago, but now even they aren’t telling the full demographic story (publicly).

  8. anymous says:

    The idiots over at Disney can’t be happy with this.

    • man1985 says:

      “Idiots” why? They had this weekend reserved for years already. Not their fault that Mayweather doesn’t give a crap about Avengers. lol

  9. Mentallect says:

    The Mayweather v Pacific fight grabbed a few million from AOU.

  10. Just My Opinion says:

    I think the Lucas-inspired realm of STAR WARS will annihilate Marvel’s franchise crown jewel at the box office next winter for a couple of simple reasons: it will enjoy broader cross-generational/cross demographic appeal…and the curiosity/nostalgic factor will be huge. I’ll catch ULTRON on Blu-Ray a few months from now…there’s no compelling reason for me to trudge over to a cinema to catch it — it looks like every other recent Marvel destruct-o-thon.

    • Bill B. says:

      Totally agree, except I’m going to skip the Blu-ray as well. I am through with this nonsense. They all seem the same, except for Guardians of the Galaxy.

      • therealeverton says:

        It really doesn’t, but to each their own. That’s what makes variety in entertainment necessary.

  11. The movie was nowhere near as enjoyable as the first. It felt pointless and rushed.

  12. Calvin says:

    How can the number 2 movie of the weekend gross less than the number 3?

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