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By Daniel Garris

Disney's Avengers: Age of Ultron debuted with a massive $191.27 million this weekend. While that represented the second largest opening weekend performance of all-time, it also represented a notably softer debut than had been widely expected for the film (especially after its relatively strong Thursday night launch). Instead of surpassing the $207.44 million debut of 2012's Marvel's The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron had to settle for opening in between The Avengers and the $174.14 million debut of 2013's Iron Man 3. Avengers: Age of Ultron opened 8 percent below The Avengers and 10 percent ahead of Iron Man 3.

That Avengers: Age of Ultron is on course to ultimately gross less domestically than The Avengers isn't a surprise. But its opening weekend performance being softer than that of its predecessor is a surprise, in part from the fact that Avengers: Age of Ultron will in all likelihood be more front-loaded than The Avengers was, perhaps significantly so.

It should be mentioned that Saturday's performance appears to have taken a clear hit from the much hyped about and long awaited Mayweather vs. Pacquiao boxing match. Game 7 of the Los Angeles Clippers vs San Antonio Spurs NBA Playoffs series and the Kentucky Derby likely also helped take a toll on Saturday's performance as well.

Avengers: Age of Ultron took in $84.42 million on Friday (which included an estimated $27.6 million from Thursday evening shows), declined a very sharp 33 percent on Saturday to gross $56.53 million and fell just 11 percent on Sunday to gross $50.32 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.27 to 1. That is significantly more front-loaded than the 2.57 to 1 ratio of The Avengers and the 2.53 to 1 ratio of Iron Man 3.

In addition to Saturday's performance being affected by the mentioned sporting events, the early front-loading for Avengers: Age of Ultron suggests that die-hard fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were much more excited about the film than more casual fans of the series were. It is quite possible that Furious 7 having gone over so well with moviegoers in April helped downplay anticipation a bit for Avengers: Age of Ultron with more casual fans (similarly, that appeared to happen this weekend last year when potential for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was softened a bit by the strong audience reaction to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.)

There is hope that Avengers: Age of Ultron could rebound from its early front-loading going forward, thanks in part to a strong initial audience reaction of its own. Avengers: Age of Ultron received an A rating on CinemaScore and its early audience score among Rotten Tomatoes users stands at a very strong 90 percent. On the other hand, Avengers: Age of Ultron will face tougher initial competition throughout May than The Avengers did back in 2012, at least on paper, from the combination of Universal's Pitch Perfect 2, Warner's Max Max: Fury Road, fellow Disney release Tomorrowland and to a lesser extent from Fox's Poltergeist and Warner's Hot Pursuit.

The audience breakdown for Avengers: Age of Ultron skewed towards male moviegoers (59 percent) and towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (59 percent). Family audiences represented 22 percent of the film's overall audience.  Teenage moviegoers represented 12 percent of the film's overall audience, which represented a significant drop-off compared to The Avengers (when teens represented 21 percent of the opening weekend audience). 

Moving past the absolute market dominance of Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend, it was a close three-way race for second place between Universal's Furious 7, Lionsgate's The Age of Adaline and Sony's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.

After leading the box office for each of the past four weekends, Furious 7 fell to second place this weekend with $6.64 million. The seventh installment of Universal's blockbuster action franchise was down a very sharp 63 percent, which was understandable given the debut of Avengers: Age of Ultron and that Saturday's sports events took a toll on the marketplace in general. Furious 7 has grossed $331.07 million through 31 days of release. That places the film an extremely impressive 45 percent ahead of the $228.62 million 31-day take of 2013's Fast & Furious 6.

The Age of Adaline placed in third $6.20 million. While the romantic drama starring Blake Lively was down a significant 53 percent from last weekend's debut, it also experienced one of the weekend's stronger percentage holds among wide releases. The Age of Adaline has grossed $23.38 million in ten days. That is on the high end of expectations and places the film just below the recent $23.68 million ten-day start of The Longest Ride. With aid from Mother's Day next weekend, The Age of Adaline should experience a stronger third weekend hold than The Longest Ride did.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 claimed fourth place with $5.88 million. The modestly budgeted Kevin James led comedy sequel fell a sharp 60 percent from last weekend. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 has grossed $51.52 million in 17 days. The film continues to run in line with expectations and is running 13 percent behind the $59.21 million 17-day take of 2011's Zookeeper.

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PRESS RELEASE:

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Film Blasts into North American Market with $18 Million in IMAX; Global Cume Reaches $40 Million in Just 12 Days, a Record Pace for IMAX

LOS ANGELES - May 4, 2015 - IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX) today announced that Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron amassed a record-setting $25.2 million in IMAX® theatres globally - the Company's largest non-China worldwide box office weekend for a single film. Domestically, Avengers: Age of Ultron delivered $18 million on 364 IMAX screens for a massive $50,000 per-screen average. Moreover, IMAX represented 8 of the film's top 10 domestic opening locations.

The film's global IMAX theatres cume reached $40 million in only 12 days, beating the previous 14-day record pace set by Marvel's Iron Man 3. Internationally, Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron held exceptionally well in IMAX theatres, grossing $7.2 million in its second weekend overseas. Added to the film's recording-setting international IMAX debut last weekend, Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron has cumed $22 million so far, without yet the benefit of the Chinese market, where the film opens on May 12.

"The continued global success of the Avengers franchise is a remarkable feat and we congratulate Disney and Marvel for yet another astounding domestic opening in the Marvel Cinematic Universe," said Greg Foster, Senior Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp. and CEO of IMAX Entertainment. "With a fantastic ‘A' CinemaScore rating, we look forward to the film's domestic holdover potential, particularly in IMAX® theatres, where internationally, the film already has displayed exceptional staying power. This weekend represents the continuation of the film's global box office domination and audiences' preference for The IMAX Experience®."

The IMAX® 3D release of Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX's customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

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PRESS RELEASE:

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Operating Revenue Growth Drives Q1 Operating Income of $12.0 Million and Adjusted EBITDA of $29.8 Million

COLUMBUS, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Carmike Cinemas, Inc. (NASDAQ: CKEC):

     
Webcast/Conference Call TODAY, Monday, May 4 at 5:00 p.m. ET
     
WEBCAST LINK:  

www.carmikeinvestors.com (archived for 30 days)

     
CALL DIAL-IN:   800/761-0069 or 212/231-2925 (international callers)
     
CALL REPLAY:   800/633-8284 or 402/977-9140, passcode: 21767103 (through May 11)
     

Carmike Cinemas, Inc. (NASDAQ: CKEC), a leading entertainment, digital cinema and 3-D motion picture exhibitor, today reported results for the three-month period ended March 31, 2015, as summarized below.

         
SUMMARY FINANCIAL DATA

(unaudited)

         
        Three Months Ended

March 31

(in millions)       2015   2014
Total operating revenues       $ 184.3   $ 158.9  
Operating income         12.0     8.1  
Interest expense         12.7     13.1  
Theatre level cash flow (1)         35.5     27.6  
Net income (loss)         0.4     (3.2 )
Adjusted net income (loss) (1)         3.1     (2.2 )
Adjusted EBITDA (1)         29.8     21.6  
             
(in millions)       Mar. 31, 2015   Dec. 31, 2014
Total debt(1)       $ 447.7   $ 449.6  
Net debt(1)       $ 354.8   $ 352.0  
(1)   Theatre level cash flow, adjusted net income (loss), adjusted EBITDA, total debt and net debt are supplemental non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations of theatre level cash flow and adjusted EBITDA to net income (loss) and adjusted net income (loss) to net income (loss) for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014, as well as a schedule of total debt and net debt as of March 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014, are included in the supplementary tables accompanying this news announcement.
     

“The success of Carmike’s recent growth and operating initiatives continue to yield positive operating results for our circuit. We achieved records across a number of key financial metrics which reflect continued progress against our strategies to identify and complete value-building theatre acquisitions and the ongoing success of our theatre-level initiatives, combined with a healthy U.S. box office environment. On a per screen basis, our first quarter admissions revenues grew approximately 5% which outperformed the overall industry growth by approximately 180 basis points. While average ticket prices remained flat versus the comparable 2014 period, first quarter attendance growth of nearly 14% generated a 16% rise in operating revenues, resulting in adjusted EBITDA and theatre level cash flow growth of nearly 38% and 28%, respectively,” stated David Passman, Carmike Cinemas’ President and Chief Executive Officer.

“Our first quarter box office successes have carried over to the concession stand. Carmike’s 19% increase in total concessions and other revenues and greater than 4% rise in concessions and other spending per patron highlight the benefits of our focus on delivering a diverse range of food and beverage offerings at attractive price points as well as first class in-theatre dining services. In the 2015 first quarter, we further extended our food and beverage platform by generating record-level concessions and other spending per patron of $4.72, marking 21 consecutive reporting periods of year-over-year concessions and other per patron spending growth while maintaining attractive gross margins.

“Consistent with our food and beverage initiatives and strategies to expand in-theatre dining offerings, during the first quarter we opened our first two full-complex casual dining locations in Bloomington, IL and Richmond, VA, and we plan to open a third location in Athens, GA later this quarter. Our new dine-in locations are receiving positive responses from the local communities and meeting our performance expectations. We remain confident that these investments will benefit mid- and long-term operating results. We are actively evaluating other markets where we believe this concept can deliver attractive returns. In addition to our new dine-in locations, we also opened two additional theatres in Florida during the period.

“In summary, Carmike is executing well against its theatre-level initiatives and is well positioned to participate in additional industry consolidation opportunities, which we believe support our goal of enhancing long-term shareholder value. We are actively executing strategies to identify acquisition and organic growth prospects that expand our theatre circuit and leverage our scale across attractive, complementary markets while strengthening our platform for sustainable growth. With a strong balance sheet including over $90 million in cash, an untapped credit facility and outstanding debt levels that remain well within our target leverage range, we have the financial flexibility and capacity to fund our expansion plans. The year is off to a great start, and we remain optimistic that the favorable operating environment will continue as the year unfolds,” concluded Mr. Passman.

         

THEATRE PERFORMANCE STATISTICS

(unaudited)
         
        Three Months Ended March 31,
        2015   2014
Average theatres         273     252
Average screens         2,893     2,660
Average attendance per screen(1)         5,343     5,104
Average admissions per patron(1)       $ 7.20   $ 7.19
Average concessions/other sales per patron(1)       $ 4.72   $ 4.52
Total attendance (in thousands)(1)         15,457     13,578
Total operating revenues (in thousands)       $ 184,334   $ 158,924

 

(1) Includes activity from theatres designated as discontinued operations and reported as such in the consolidated statements of operations.
 

Carmike Cinemas’ Chief Financial Officer Richard B. Hare stated, “Carmike achieved solid top-line growth in Q1 2015, with admissions revenue and concessions and other revenue increasing over the prior year period by 14.1% and 18.9%, respectively. Q1 2015 average admissions per patron was in-line with the prior year at $7.20 while on average guests spent a record-level $11.92 per visit in the quarter, representing a 1.8% increase in combined per patron spending compared to the prior year.

“Carmike’s Q1 2015 film exhibition costs as a percentage of admissions revenues were 55.4%, versus 54.2% in Q1 2014, reflecting a higher concentration of strong performing titles. Concession costs as a percentage of concessions and other revenue decreased by 60 basis points to 11.0%, as a result of lower commodity prices and volume-based vendor rebates.

“As expected, our three theatre-level expense categories increased during the first quarter of 2015, primarily reflecting Carmike’s expanded circuit due to recent acquisitions and new theatre openings. Salaries and benefits rose $2.2 million to $23.7 million, theatre occupancy costs increased $3.1 million to $23.4 million, and other theatre operating costs were $32.0 million, compared to $29.4 million in the first quarter of 2014. General and administrative expenses were $10.0 million for Q1 2015, including $2.7 million of non-cash share-based compensation expense and $1.7 million of M&A related costs. Quarterly interest expense declined $0.4 million to $12.7 million in Q1 2015, due primarily to the maturing of certain legacy capital leases and long-term financing obligations.

“Adjusted EBITDA increased 38.1% to $29.8 million and theatre level cash flow rose 28.3% to $35.5 million due to a combination of Carmike’s strong top-line growth, higher attendance levels, results-focused operating disciplines, and expanded scale. Reflecting cash of $92.9 million at March 31, 2015, we ended the quarter with $354.8 million of net debt, compared with $352.0 million at December 31, 2014. Our capital allocation strategy continues to focus on deploying cash to expand our theatre circuit through accretive acquisitions and new locations through build-to-suit arrangements,” concluded Mr. Hare.

Supplemental Financial Measures

Theatre level cash flow, EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income (loss), total debt and net debt are supplemental non-GAAP financial measures used by Carmike to evaluate its operating performance. Carmike defines theatre level cash flow as adjusted EBITDA, as defined below, plus general and administrative expenses. Carmike believes that theatre level cash flow is an important supplemental measure of operating performance for a motion picture exhibitor’s operations because it provides a measure of the core operations, rather than factoring in items such as general and administrative expenses and depreciation and amortization, among others. In addition, Carmike believes that theatre level cash flow, as defined, is a widely accepted measure of comparative operating performance in the motion picture exhibition industry. Adjusted net income (loss) is defined as net income (loss) plus impairment of long-lived assets, merger and acquisition-related expenses, share-based compensation expense and gain on sale of property and equipment, net of tax. Carmike believes adjusted net income (loss) is an important supplemental measure of operating performance for a motion picture exhibitor because it provides a measure of core operations. Total debt is defined as the sum of current maturities of capital leases and long-term financing obligations, long-term debt and capital leases and long-term financing obligations (less current maturities). Net debt is defined as total debt less cash and cash equivalents. EBITDA is defined as net income (loss) plus income tax expense (benefit), interest expense and depreciation and amortization. Adjusted EBITDAis defined as EBITDA plus income (loss) from unconsolidated affiliates, loss from discontinued operations, merger and acquisition-related expenses, share-based compensation expense, gain on sale of property and equipment, and impairment of long-lived assets. Carmike believes that EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA are important supplemental measures of operating performance for a motion picture exhibitor’s operations because they provide measures of core operations.

About Carmike Cinemas (www.carmike.com)

Carmike Cinemas, Inc. is a U.S. leader in digital cinema, 3-D cinema deployments and one of the nation's largest motion picture exhibitors. Carmike has 272 theatres with 2,894 screens in 41 states. The circuit includes 46 premium large format (PLF) auditoriums featuring state-of-the-art technology and luxurious seating, including 28 "BigDs," 16 IMAX auditoriums and two MuviXL screens. As "America's Hometown Theatre Chain" Carmike's primary focus is mid-sized communities. Visit www.carmike.com for exact show-times and to purchase tickets.

Disclosure Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about our beliefs, expectations and future performance, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements preceded by, followed by or that include the words, “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “estimates,” “seeks” or similar expressions. Examples of forward-looking statements in this press release include the Company’s expectations regarding results from our operating strategies, box office performance, food and beverage strategies, circuit expansion and additional acquisition opportunities. Forward-looking statements are only predictions and are not guarantees of performance. These statements are based on beliefs and assumptions of management, which in turn are based on currently available information. The forward-looking statements also involve risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. Many of these factors are beyond our ability to control or predict. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement include, but are not limited to: our ability to achieve expected results from our strategic acquisitions, general economic conditions in our regional and national markets; our ability to comply with covenants contained in our senior secured credit agreement and the indenture governing our 7.375% Senior Secured Notes due 2019; our ability to operate at expected levels of cash flow; financial market conditions including, but not limited to, changes in interest rates and the availability and cost of capital; our ability to meet our contractual obligations, including all outstanding financing commitments; the availability of suitable motion pictures for exhibition in our markets; competition in our markets; competition with other forms of entertainment; and other factors, including the risk factors disclosed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, under the caption “Risk Factors.” We believe these forward-looking statements are reasonable; however, undue reliance should not be placed on any forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations. Further, forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update publicly any of them in light of new information or future events.

         
CARMIKE CINEMAS, INC. and SUBSIDIARIES
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(in thousands, except per share data)
         
    Three Months Ended

March 31

    2015   2014
Revenues:   (Unaudited)   (Unaudited)
Admissions   $ 111,356     $ 97,572  
Concessions and other     72,978       61,352  
         
Total operating revenues     184,334       158,924  
         
Operating costs and expenses:        
Film exhibition costs     61,683       52,889  
Concession costs     8,022       7,119  
Salaries and benefits     23,713       21,534  
Theatre occupancy costs     23,434       20,361  
Other theatre operating costs     32,029       29,382  
General and administrative expenses     10,027       7,498  
Depreciation and amortization     13,087       11,771  
Gain on sale of property and equipment     (1,031 )     (67 )
Impairment of long-lived assets     1,390       358  
         
Total operating costs and expenses     172,354       150,845  
         
Operating income     11,980       8,079  
Interest expense     12,669       13,116  
         
Loss before income tax and income (loss) from unconsolidated affiliates     (689 )     (5,037 )
Income tax expense (benefit)     268       (2,010 )
Income (loss) from unconsolidated affiliates     1,348       (85 )
         
Income (loss) from continuing operations     391       (3,112 )
Loss from discontinued operations           (52 )
         
Net income (loss)   $ 391     $ (3,164 )
         
Weighted average shares outstanding:        
Basic     24,483       22,821  
Diluted     24,949       22,821  
         
Net income (loss) per common share (Basic and Diluted):        
Income (loss) from continuing operations   $ 0.02     $ (0.14 )
         
Net income (loss) per common share   $ 0.02     $ (0.14 )
                 
         
CARMIKE CINEMAS, INC. and SUBSIDIARIES
SUPPLEMENTARY NON-GAAP RECONCILIATIONS
 
THEATRE LEVEL CASH FLOW AND ADJUSTED EBITDA (Unaudited)
($ in thousands)
         
        Three Months Ended
March 31,
        2015   2014
       

(Unaudited)

  (Unaudited)
Net income (loss)       $ 391     $ (3,164 )
Income tax expense (benefit)         268       (2,010 )
Interest expense         12,669       13,116  
Depreciation and amortization         13,087       11,771  
             
EBITDA         26,415       19,713  
(Income) loss from unconsolidated affiliates         (1,348 )     85  
Loss from discontinued operations               52  
Gain on sale of property and equipment         (1,031 )     (67 )
Impairment of long-lived assets         1,390       358  
Merger and acquisition-related expenses         1,654       614  
Share-based compensation expense         2,681       797  
             
Adjusted EBITDA       $ 29,761     $ 21,552  
             
General and administrative expenses         5,692       6,087  
             
Theatre level cash flow       $ 35,453     $ 27,639  
             
                 
TOTAL DEBT AND NET DEBT (Unaudited)    
($ in thousands)    
                 
    Mar. 31, 2015     Dec. 31, 2014
Current maturities of capital leases and long-term financing obligations  

$

9,989

   

$

9,667

 
Long-term debt     209,708       209,690  
Capital leases and long-term financing obligations, less current maturities     227,995       230,203  
                 
Total debt   $ 447,692     $ 449,560  
Less cash and cash equivalents     (92,865 )     (97,537 )
                 
Net debt   $ 354,827     $ 352,023  
                 
                 
ADJUSTED NET INCOME (LOSS) (Unaudited)
($ in thousands)
                 
                Three Months Ended
March 31,
                2015   2014
                (Unaudited)   (Unaudited)
Net income (loss)               $ 391     $ (3,164 )
Impairment of long-lived assets                 1,390       358  
Gain on sale of property and equipment                 (1,031 )     (67 )
Merger and acquisition-related expenses                 1,654       614  
Share-based compensation expense                 2,681       797  
Tax effect of adjustments to net income (loss)                 (1,971 )     (732 )
                     
Adjusted net income (loss)(1)               $ 3,114     $ (2,194 )
                     
Weighted average shares outstanding (basic)                 24,483       22,821  
Weighted average shares outstanding (diluted)                 24,949       22,821  
Adjusted net income (loss) per share (basic)               $ 0.13     $ (0.10 )
Adjusted net income (loss) per share (diluted)               $ 0.12     $ (0.10 )
                     
(1)   Adjustments to net income (loss) for the three months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014 are shown net of tax effect of 42.0% and 43.0%, respectively, which represents the estimated combined federal and state tax rates for each period.
     
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Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron continued its global rampage this weekend with an estimated $168 million from 88 territories, adding 44 territories from last weekend and playing in 71% of its international market. Overseas, the Disney/Marvel sequel has now grossed $439 million which surpasses the lifetime cumes of Captain America ($194 million), Iron Man ($265 million), Thor ($268 million), Iron Man 2 ($310 million) and Thor: The Dark World ($439 million). Globally, Ultron is up to $627 million which bests Captain America ($371 million), Thor ($449 million), Iron Man (583 million), and Iron Man 2 ($622 million).

 

Ultron was the top movie in all 88 territories this weekend and dropped off only 37% from last weekend. It continues to dominate in Asia where it opened it Thailand to the 2nd biggest weekend ever for $7.4 million. South Korea is the top international market for Ultron (perhaps thanks to that high speed chase through downtown Seoul) with $55.4 million after two weekends. Russia is up to $27.2 million and has already passed the lifetime cume of the original Avengers. Despite most of country watching the fight of the century, the Philippines found time to make Ultron the third biggest movie of all time with $12.0 million behind Marvel’s Avengers and Iron Man 3.

 

Ultron also rolled out in most of Latin America this weekend with Mexico and Peru taking their biggest industry opening weekends of all times. It grabbed 92% of the market share in Mexico for $25.5 million. Elsewhere, Columbia and Peru both more than doubled their opening weekends from the original Avengers, and Brazil dropped off only 11% in its second weekend for a $29.5 million total. 

 

In Europe, Spain opened to $6.2 million which was 2% ahead of Avengers and 41% ahead of Iron Man 3.  The UK is Ultron’s second highest international market with $48.1 million, 6% ahead of Avengers thus far. 

 

On the overseas IMAX front, Ultron picked up a cool $7.2 million on 221 screens in 50 countries for an international cume of $22 million. Mexico ($25K/screen), Ecuador ($40K/screen), and Egypt ($100K/screen) delivered their best weekends ever for IMAX. 

 

Chinese filmgoers are eagerly anticipating Ultron’s release on May 12, and Japan will see the Avengers on its screens in July.

Furious 7 added $52.8 million from 67 territories this weekend, bringing its international cume to $1.098 billion and its global haul to a staggering $1.429 billion. That puts it past Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ($1.341B) as the 4th highest grossing film of all-time globally behind Avatar ($2.8B), Titanic ($2.2B), and The Avengers ($1.5B). Its $1.098 billion from overseas is the third highest behind Avatar ($2B) and Titanic ($1.5B). 

 

The seventh installment in the Fast series continued to lead the market in China for a third consecutive weekend as it fell just 14% thanks to the Labour Day Holiday to gross an estimated $31 million for a 22-day total of $381.8 million. Furious still has one more weekend to break $400 million before Age of Ultron hits theaters on Tuesday, May 12.

 

Other top grossing territories are: U.K. and Ireland ($54.3 million), Mexico ($50.5 million), Brazil ($43 million), Germany ($37.4 million), Russia ($32.2 million), Australia ($32.2 million), France ($31 million), Venezuela ($30.3 million), Taiwan ($25.3 million), India ($24.8 million), South Korea ($24.1 million), Argentina ($24.4 million), the Middle East ($20.4 million), Italy ($20.1 million), and Japan ($17.8 million).

 

Home cozied up to $17.01 million this weekend, transporting its international total to $170.08 and the global total to $328.31 million. China took in $11.1 million ($21.5 million cume) from 3,842 screens to place #5 in the market over the Labour Holiday weekend. France added $1.46 million for a total of $5.34 million after 3 weekends, a bump of 7% from last weekend. 

 

Cinderella is taking her last dance in Japan, but still managed to waltz up $7.0 million from 33 territories. She’s now crossed the $300 million overseas mark and will look to pass $0.5 billion globally in the coming week.

 

Unfriended scared up $3.6 million from 9 territories this weekend. Combined with a light rollout the past two weekends in the Baltic, its international tally is up to $3.8 million and its worldwide cume is $32.3 million. The tweeny social media thriller opened in 2nd place in both the UK and Ireland ($2 million) and Australia ($1 million). Unfriended will expand internationally in the following months with South Korea next to open up on May 17.

 

Run All Night took in $3.5 million over the weekend from 50 markets bringing its international cume to $38.1 million. Brazil opened with $721K on 316 screens, Italy opened with $564K on 248 screens, and Argentina opened with $378K on 129 screens. The film has grossed $64.5 million worldwide and will open in Japan on May 16.

 

The Longest Ride bucked its way to $3.46 million this weekend with openings in Germany ($1.7 million), Austria ($314K), Brazil ($287K), Switzerland ($281K), and Norway ($112K). Its international total stands at $12.07 million and $45.31 million globally. It kicks into Belgium and Spain next weekend.

 

Thomas Vinterberg’s Far From The Madding Crowd opened at #2 in the UK with $1.97 million. Combined with the two week total from Vinterberg’s native Denmark, the adaptation has grossed $2.37 million overseas and $2.54 globally after one weekend of limited release in the States. 

 

Warner Bros’ Focus crossed $100 million this weekend with its opening in Japan where it found $631K from 235 screens. The film stands at $153.9 million globally. 

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Monday Morning Update: Thanks to a stronger than expected hold on Sunday, Disney has revised its weekend estimate for Avengers: Age of Ultron to $191.3 million.

The film's actual weekend gross will be released later today.

Sunday Update: Disney's Avengers: Age of Ultron debuted with an estimated $187.66 million this weekend. While that represented the second largest opening weekend performance of all-time, it also represented a notably softer debut than had been widely expected for the film (especially after its relatively strong Thursday night launch). Instead of surpassing the $207.44 million debut of 2012's Marvel's The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron had to settle for opening in between The Avengers and the $174.14 million debut of 2013's Iron Man 3. Avengers: Age of Ultron opened 9.5 percent below The Avengers and 8 percent ahead of Iron Man 3.

That Avengers: Age of Ultron is on course to ultimately gross less domestically than The Avengers isn't a surprise. But its opening weekend performance being softer than that of its predecessor is a surprise, in part from the fact that Avengers: Age of Ultron will in all likelihood be more front-loaded than The Avengers was, perhaps significantly so.

It should be mentioned that Saturday's performance appears to have taken a clear hit from the much hyped about and long awaited Mayweather vs. Pacquiao boxing match. Game 7 of the Los Angeles Clippers vs San Antonio Spurs NBA Playoffs series and the Kentucky Derby likely also helped take a toll on Saturday's performance as well.

Avengers: Age of Ultron took in $84.46 million on Friday (which included an estimated $27.6 million from Thursday evening shows), declined a very sharp 32 percent on Saturday to gross $57.22 million and is estimated to fall 20 percent on Sunday to gross $45.98 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.22 to 1. That is significantly more front-loaded than the 2.57 to 1 ratio of The Avengers and the 2.53 to 1 ratio of Iron Man 3.

In addition to Saturday's performance being affected by the mentioned sporting events, the early front-loading for Avengers: Age of Ultron suggests that die-hard fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were much more excited about the film than more casual fans of the series were. It is quite possible that Furious 7 having gone over so well with moviegoers in April helped downplay anticipation a bit for Avengers: Age of Ultron with more casual fans (similarly, that appeared to happen this weekend last year when potential for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was softened a bit by the strong audience reaction to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.)

There is hope that Avengers: Age of Ultron could rebound from its early front-loading going forward, thanks in part to a strong initial audience reaction of its own. Avengers: Age of Ultron received an A rating on CinemaScore and its early audience score among Rotten Tomatoes users stands at a very strong 90 percent. On the other hand, Avengers: Age of Ultron will face tougher initial competition throughout May than The Avengers did back in 2012, at least on paper, from the combination of Universal's Pitch Perfect 2, Warner's Max Max: Fury Road, fellow Disney release Tomorrowland and to a lesser extent from Fox's Poltergeist and Warner's Hot Pursuit.

The audience breakdown for Avengers: Age of Ultron skewed towards male moviegoers (59 percent) and towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (59 percent). Family audiences represented 22 percent of the film's overall audience. Avengers: Age of Ultron grossed an estimated $18.0 million from IMAX locations, which represented 9.6 percent of the film's overall gross.

Moving past the absolute market dominance of Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend, it was a close three-way race for second place between Lionsgate's The Age of Adaline, Universal's Furious 7 and Sony's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Estimates are close enough that the three films could still change positions when actuals are released on Monday.

The Age of Adaline placed in second with an estimated $6.25 million. While the romantic drama starring Blake Lively was down a significant 53 percent from last weekend's debut, it also experienced one of the weekend's stronger percentage holds. The Age of Adaline has grossed $23.42 million in ten days. That is on the high end of pre-release expectations and places the film just below the recent $23.68 million ten-day start of The Longest Ride (which fell 46 percent in its second weekend to gross $7.02 million). With aid from Mother's Day next weekend, The Age of Adaline should experience a stronger third weekend hold than The Longest Ride did.

After leading the box office for each of the past four weekends, Furious 7 fell to third place this weekend with an estimated $6.1 million. The seventh installment of Universal's blockbuster action franchise was down a very sharp 66 percent, which was understandable given the debut of Avengers: Age of Ultron and that Saturday's sports events took a toll on the marketplace in general. Furious 7 has grossed a massive $330.52 million through 31 days of release. That places the film an extremely impressive 45 percent ahead of the $228.62 million 31-day take of 2013's Fast & Furious 6.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 claimed fourth place with an estimated $5.55 million. The modestly budgeted Kevin James led comedy sequel fell a sharp 62 percent from last weekend. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 has grossed $51.19 million in 17 days. The film continues to run in line with expectations and is running 13.5 percent behind the $59.21 million 17-day take of 2011's Zookeeper.

Saturday Update: Disney reports this morning that Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron amassed $84.46 million on Friday, including Thursday night's $27.6 million start from early shows. That take stands as the second best single day gross in history (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 retains its $91 million record) and is 4.5 percent ahead of its predecessor's debut ($80.8 million) three years ago this weekend. That first Avengers famously became the first movie to ever crack $200 million in a single weekend, a benchmark that Ultron has a fair shot at topping.

The Marvel brand has a history of displaying great Saturday and Sunday holds as families turn out after the fans. Still, given the massive anticipation among both fans and casual audiences heading into release, it's possible this sequel will be more front-loaded than previous Marvel flicks. The question is: how much more? Some in the industry have noted today's Kentucky Derby and Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing match could keep potential viewers home. Ultimately, however, word of mouth may be the key deciding factor -- and things look positive on that end. Ultron grabbed an "A" CinemaScore, while it stands at 90 percent among Rotten Tomatoes users (one tick behind Furious 7's 91 percent among the best day-after-release scores in 2015). Critics gave it a more modest 75 percent as of this morning, in line with Iron Man 3.

For the weekend, BoxOffice is projecting $210 million for Avengers: Age of Ultron -- which would top the first Avengers' $207.4 million record bow three years ago, and give the Marvel Cinematic Universe the top three domestic openings in history.

Landing in second place yesterday, The Age of Adaline slipped 55.5 percent from its opening day last week to $2.21 million. With $19.4 million in the bank through eight days of release, BoxOffice is projecting a $6.9 million sophomore frame.

Moving down to third, Furious 7 was off 57 percent from last Friday to $2.1 million. That gives the blockbuster hit $326.5 million domestically to date. Look for a weekend around $7.3 million.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 earned $1.775 million in fourth place yesterday, down 52.5 percent from last week. The sequel's total now stands at $47.4 million. BoxOffice projects a $7.2 million frame.

Filling out the top five, Home posted another $0.87 million on Friday, giving it $155.7 million in the bank overall. The pic should bring in around $3.5 million this weekend.

Check BoxOffice on Sunday for official weekend estimates from the studios.

Friday Update #2: Sources are reporting very preliminary numbers for Friday based on matinee business, while Disney itself has updated that they expect to top $200 million and are eyeing the weekend record. That's a fantastic sign coming from the most official source possible.

Based on these early reports, suggesting an opening day of $90 million or more (which could be a record if it tops the final Harry Potter's $91 million first day), BoxOffice is currently projecting an opening weekend around $220-225 million.

More updates as they come.

Friday Update #1: Disney reports that Avengers: Age of Ultron took in a massive $27.6 million from Thursday night's first shows, giving it the highest pre-Friday debut any film has seen since the Twilight finale in November 2012.

What's more, it blows past the $15.6 million Iron Man 3 earned from Thursday night shows on this same weekend two years ago. IMAX accounted for $3 million of last night's performance, topping previous record-holder The Dark Knight Rises by 30 percent and the first Avengers by 120 percent. Disney also reports that men made up 60 percent of last night's audience, while 55 percent were age 25 or older. Those demos are sure to shift a bit over the course of the weekend, though. Overall, premium large format screens made up 44 percent of last night's business.

In addition to Iron Man 3, the next best comparison seems to be Avengers itself, although that film opened at midnight before 7pm shows were the norm. That film bowed to $18.7 million on its way to a record $207.4 million for the weekend. We don't necessarily expect a straight-line comparison from there, although Ultron's early start is certainly lining up with pre-release expectations of again breaking the opening weekend record. Since audiences have become more and more aware of Thursday early shows over the past few years, it's too early to tell exactly what last night's business points to.

Check back throughout today and the weekend for further coverage on Avengers: Age of Ultron's domestic opening and continued overseas rollout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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