Avengers: Age Of Ultron opens big but behind The Avengers
By Rich Matthews
It's an odd occasion when a massive opening weekend gross of $188m, the second biggest domestic US gross in history, is something of disappointment. Why? Because Avengers: Age Of Ultron is the sequel to the current record holder The Avengers, which opened in 2012 to $207.4m.
Speculation was rife in the build-up to release that Ultron would surpass the original Marvel mash-up flick, with advance booking greater than all of the other Marvel movies combined and four times more than The Avengers itself. It resoundingly crushed all comers by accounting for 85 per cent of the entire weekend gross, beating previous record holder Spider-Man 3's 83 per cent. All looked on course on Friday, with Ultron pulling ahead of its progenitor, but Saturday saw it drop 18 per cent lower, which many pundits are blaming on the pay-per-view Mayweather v Pacquiao fight for cannibalising a large chunk of Ultron's key young male demographic.
If this was the case, then Ultron may prove to have sturdier legs than than the pugilists at the centre of the most profitable fight in history. Marvel now has the top three three-day openings of all-time, with Iron Man 3 at three with $174.1m. However, Ultron has not been as universally well received as the first film, so may suffer to the current trend of sequels underperforming in the domestic market and having to increasingly rely on international box office.
Speaking of international revenue, 12 days of release in roughly half of the world before expanding out has seen the Disney/Marvel team-up starring Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and new teammembers Aaron Johnson as Quicksilver, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as living robot Vision has taken $439m, for a 12-day worldwide total of $626.7m. Not bad overall, but can it compete with Universal's runaway hit Furious 7, which climbed to a mammoth $1.4bn worldwide thanks to its status as only the third movie to ever gross more than $1bn internationally. Even though it grossed $6.3m to come third and raise its homegrown tally to $330.5m, it has passed Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 to become the fourth-biggest film of all time, nipping at the aforementioned Avengers' heels at $1.5bn. It's possible, though, that Ultron will at least have slowed Furious 7's progress down and may keep it in fourth, even if Ultron itself may or may not approach The Avengers' gross.
Everyone else barely registered, with Blake Lively's Age Of Adaline at two, with $6.3m ($23.4m US), Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 at four ($5.6m, $51.2m, $75.4m), Home at five ($3.3m, $158.1m, $326.2m), Cinderella at six ($2.4m, $194m, $494.3m), Ex Machina ($2.2m, $10.9m, $18.7m), Unfriended eighth ($2m, $28.5m, $32.3m), The Longest Ride ninth ($1.7m, $33.2m, $45.1m), and Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds chasing art in Woman In Gold at 10th ($1.7m, $24.6m, $29.8m).
Next weekend will show whether Age Of Ultron and James Spader's evil AI android has genuine legs or if Reese Witherspoon and Modern Family's Sofia Vergara comedy Hot Pursuit can unseat it at the first hurdle. Let's hope for Disney's sake not, because Mad Max: Fury Road and Pitch Perfect 2 are coming to take on the superheroes on 15 May.