The superhero sequel scored a massive $191.3 million opening, but that fell short of projections that had it topping the first “Avengers'” record-breaking $207.4 million bow. Blame Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, the boxers behind the so-called “fight of the century,” for dinging the film’s box office total.
The Saturday boxing match caused a number of potential moviegoers to steer clear of the mulitplexes and hit up pay-per-view, according to polling conducted by C4-R&D.
The market research firm surveyed 641 respondents and discovered that 52% of those who didn’t see a movie this weekend said it was because of the fight. Of those who opted to see boxing over a movie, 24% reported there wasn’t enough time to see both the Mayweather and Pacquiao smackdown and watch the Avengers save the world. Fifteen percent said friends and family wanted to see the fight instead of the movie, while 13% said after shelling out $100 for the boxing match there wasn’t enough money left over to buy tickets to “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
“The hype around it being the ‘fight of the century’ impacted people across the nation, and it was at night, and the fight was a long process,” said Kristen Simmons, chief innovation officer of C4-R&D.
It’s rare that a cultural event like Mayweather vs. Pacquiao would reverberate at cinemas. Simmons said it’s a myth that the release of a major videogame negatively impacts box office, because research suggests that ticket sales are unaffected by the debut of a “Call of Duty” or “World of Warcraft.”
“It was an event that had a competitive impact,” she said. “I didn’t realize the fullness of the impact it would have.”
People who saw the fight, but not a movie, overlapped with the main demographic groups that took in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” — they were 62% male, and 64% between the ages of 13-29. Opening weekend audiences for the film were 59% male, 22% between the ages of 17-25 and 27% between 26 and 34 years old. Ticket sales for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” dropped sharply on Saturday night, particularly during hours when people across the country were gathering to watch boxing.
Forty five percent of those polled said they didn’t plan on seeing a movie last weekend and the fight never factored into that decision. Among people who saw the fight but skipped “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” 50% were white, 20% were black and 25% were Hispanic.
It was a busy weekend for sports fans, with the Kentucky Derby, the NBA and NHL playoffs and a Red Sox vs. Yankees match-up all taking place, but those events had less impact, according to the poll. Only 2% of those surveyed said they planned to see the “Avengers” sequel, but decided not to because of “other reasons.”
Simmons argues that Disney was wise to debut “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on May 1 despite the level of interest in the Mayweather and Pacquiao rumble.
“It kicks off the summer season, which I think is important,” she said. “It still made a tremendous amount of money.”