'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Scores the Second Largest Debut of All-Time with $191.3M LaunchMay 04, 2015 12:46 PM

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.

Daily Domestic Gross Sun, Oct. 2 2011

Wide (1000+)

#TitleSun, Oct. 2 2011LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Dolphin Tale$3,903,006-40%3,5158$1,110$37,183,7962Warner Bros.
2The Lion King 3D$2,863,924-36%2,34010$1,224$79,209,7943Disney
3Courageous$2,723,408-16%1,161--$2,346$9,112,8391Sony / TriStar
4Moneyball$2,664,928-52%2,9930$890$38,000,1302Sony / Columbia
6Dream House$1,716,345-51%2,661--$645$8,129,3551Universal
8Killer Elite$1,280,401-40%2,9860$429$17,501,2862Open Road
9What's Your Number?$1,234,774-43%3,002--$411$5,421,6691Fox
10Contagion$1,137,820-50%2,744-392$415$64,569,6194Warner Bros.
11Drive (2011)$836,744-42%1,974-930$424$27,003,0293FilmDistrict
12The Help$792,316-41%2,505-190$316$159,373,0238Disney / DreamWorks

Limited (100 — 999)

#TitleSun, Oct. 2 2011LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Laugh at My Pain$155,762-55%278-9$560$6,250,7194CodeBlack Entertainment
2The Debt$147,116-53%603-464$244$30,073,7515Focus
3Rise of the Planet of the Apes$136,400-47%591-587$231$174,482,6299Fox
4Captain America: The First Avenger$122,787-36%35016$351$175,330,41811Paramount
5Spy Kids: All The Time in the World$120,343-31%710-497$169$37,544,3877Weinstein Company
6Warrior (2011)$117,732-43%707-704$167$13,082,6674Lionsgate
7The Smurfs$100,391-38%411-258$244$138,809,04510Sony / Columbia
8Colombiana$99,379-49%412-435$241$35,845,4216Sony / TriStar
9Straw Dogs (2011)$99,231-49%874-1534$114$10,067,9033Sony / Screen Gems
10I Don't Know How She Does It$96,744-45%745-1745$130$9,222,1133Weinstein Company
11Crazy, Stupid, Love$90,921-50%405-270$224$82,763,54010Warner Bros.
12Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2$78,426-37%252-68$311$379,245,61012Warner Bros.
13Zookeeper$60,952-38%253-41$241$79,912,19013Sony / Columbia
14Transformers: Dark of the Moon$56,193-39%208-43$270$352,222,09814Paramount / DreamWorks
15Cowboys & Aliens$48,220-43%241-104$200$99,552,61110Universal
16Horrible Bosses$41,270-45%222-91$186$117,223,92613Warner Bros. / New Line
17Sarah's Key$33,545-28%139-12$241$6,770,09111Weinstein Company
18Shark Night 3D$33,197-54%292-345$114$18,492,1055Relativity Media
19Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2011)$30,121-51%216-208$139$23,708,5106FilmDistrict
20Seven Days in Utopia$22,133-34%135-137$164$4,104,0635Visio Entertainment
21Bad Teacher$20,326-89%354122$57$100,226,01515Sony / Columbia
22Final Destination 5$20,028-43%144-110$139$42,520,9188Warner Bros. / New Line
23Mr. Popper's Penguins$19,657-42%103-50$191$68,131,16016Fox
24Our Idiot Brother$16,038-42%136-275$118$24,603,2246Weinstein Company
25Conan the Barbarian (2011)$15,929-25%11559$139$21,270,9047Lionsgate
26Apollo 18$14,679-38%114-225$129$17,486,0595Weinstein Company

Platform (1 — 99)

#TitleSun, Oct. 2 2011LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Born to Be Wild 3D$37,331-22%490$762$13,181,61926Warner Bros. / IMAX
2Machine Gun Preacher$25,315-25%3329$767$142,9312Relativity Media
3Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame$16,057-29%34-14$472$355,2785Indomina Media
4Munger Road$7,750-38%1--$7,750$36,6051Freestyle Releasing
5Circumstance$6,360-22%23-6$277$345,7236Roadside Attractions
6Thunder Soul$4,478-38%13-22$344$81,3902Roadside Attractions
7Muran$4,102-44%10--$410$16,4901UTV Communications
8The Future$2,554-28%16-11$160$535,95710Roadside Attractions
9Margaret$2,429-20%2--$1,215$7,5251Fox Searchlight
10Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster$2,196-43%9--$244$9,5481UTV Communications
11Sarah Palin: You Betcha!$1,939-33%6--$323$6,9111Freestyle Releasing
12Project Nim$76628%7-11$109$397,78513Roadside Attractions