'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Registers the Second Largest Debut of All-Time with $187.7M; Fails to Match Its Predecessor After Sharp Saturday DeclineMay 03, 2015 08:53 AM

by Daniel Garris

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 it's 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.

Daily Domestic Gross Sun, Sep. 1 2013

Wide (1000+)

#TitleSun, Sep. 1 2013LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Lee Daniels' The Butler$5,696,6732%3,330220$1,711$74,143,3923Weinstein Company
2We're the Millers$5,009,87910%3,4450$1,454$109,667,1614Warner Bros. / New Line
4One Direction: This Is Us$2,907,923-28%2,735--$1,063$15,815,4971Sony / TriStar
5Elysium$2,515,4068%2,539-374$991$78,542,5974Sony / TriStar
6The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones$1,963,779-5%3,1180$630$22,929,6002Sony / Screen Gems
7The World's End$1,887,4294%1,5532$1,215$16,845,5462Focus
8Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters$1,753,9811%2,393-337$733$55,021,3464Fox
9Getaway$1,486,766-6%2,130--$698$4,503,8921Warner Bros.
10You're Next$1,455,912-2%2,4370$597$13,431,5302Lionsgate
11Despicable Me 2$1,091,3552%1,284-118$850$354,699,2509Universal
122 Guns$1,037,0859%1,411-430$735$69,348,4755Universal
13The Smurfs 2$766,609-1%1,366-486$561$66,102,6125Sony / Columbia
14Kick-Ass 2$724,2552%1,646-1299$440$26,479,5703Universal
15Monsters University$663,00910%1,889--$351$263,568,95311Disney
16World War Z$492,6101%1,2471008$395$200,286,55111Paramount
17Jobs$452,0071%1,302-1079$347$14,467,3463Open Road

Limited (100 — 999)

#TitleSun, Sep. 1 2013LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Instructions Not Included$3,132,71512%348--$9,002$7,846,4261Lionsgate / Pantelion
2The Grandmaster$861,587-2%749742$1,150$2,673,8362Weinstein Company
3Closed Circuit$812,163-10%870--$934$2,976,7771Focus
4The Wolverine$647,4622%988-461$655$127,822,2286Fox
5The Conjuring$536,8452%903-452$595$133,896,2327Warner Bros. / New Line
6The Spectacular Now$412,5412%385231$1,072$3,469,4505A24
7Star Trek Into Darkness$323,67412%958814$338$228,225,16016Paramount
8Grown Ups 2$321,25211%471-149$682$130,019,9058Sony / Columbia
9Pacific Rim$305,2293%401141$761$100,166,4478Warner Bros.
10The Way, Way Back$289,9854%654352$443$19,564,6479Fox Searchlight
11Turbo$282,798-8%438-32$646$79,802,8847Fox / DreamWorks Animation
12The Heat$276,51112%393-16$704$157,305,50610Fox
13Now You See Me$142,8502%239-7$598$116,981,31514Lionsgate / Summit
14Red 2$142,2396%261-128$545$52,113,1107Lionsgate / Summit
15Man of Steel$110,5140%284-19$389$290,650,27612Warner Bros.
16White House Down$96,1867%206-23$467$72,772,84910Sony / Columbia
18Fruitvale Station$72,5132%294-98$247$15,525,6648Weinstein Company
19Paranoia$60,657-6%392-2067$155$7,035,8023Relativity Media

Platform (1 — 99)

#TitleSun, Sep. 1 2013LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Satyagraha$149,2821%83--$1,799$412,1481UTV Motion Pictures
2In a World...$123,297-4%9116$1,355$1,196,0624Roadside Attractions
3Chennai Express$94,3989%93-51$1,015$5,066,7854UTV Motion Pictures
4This Is The End$52,57276%34-4$1,546$96,907,99612Sony / Columbia
5Fast & Furious 6$40,4158%59-39$685$238,664,22515Universal
7The Croods$11,6930%45-24$260$187,116,89824Fox / DreamWorks Animation
8Passion$10,580-17%14--$756$33,5451eOne Films US
9Afternoon Delight$9,271-3%2--$4,636$27,3521The Film Arcade
10The Servant (2013 re-issue)$2,453-19%21$1,227$31,2896Rialto Pictures
11Unfinished Song$2,018-21%17-10$119$1,632,31111Weinstein Company
12Much Ado About Nothing (2013)$1,62791%13-14$125$4,265,42213Roadside Attractions
13Savannah$9798%5-9$196$24,5332Ketchup Entertainment
14Underdogs (2013)$915-5%1-1$915$32,9123Freestyle Releasing
15Mud$774-4%6-10$129$21,587,40419Roadside Attractions
16The Last Flight of the Champion$50410%15--$34$1,4931High Top Releasing
17Inch'Allah$458-45%20$229$460,3843eOne Films US
18Stories We Tell$279-30%4-2$70$1,585,83617Roadside Attractions
19Girl Most Likely$115-56%10$115$1,377,5397Roadside Attractions