'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 Mon, Jan. 20 2014

Wide (1000+)

#TitleMon, Jan. 20 2014LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Ride Along$7,110,210-32%2,663--$2,670$48,626,3801Universal
2The Nut Job$6,277,0007%3,427--$1,832$25,700,0001Open Road
3Frozen (2013)$4,296,6988%2,979-260$1,442$336,699,9139Disney
4Lone Survivor$3,870,755-24%2,989114$1,295$76,739,6914Universal
5Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit$2,582,745-21%3,387--$763$18,034,7261Paramount
6American Hustle$1,898,632-21%2,204-425$861$117,596,1866Sony / Columbia
7August: Osage County$1,436,365-30%2,0511146$700$19,390,3564Weinstein Company
8The Wolf of Wall Street$1,301,040-28%1,930-591$674$91,147,0214Paramount
9Saving Mr. Banks$955,486-7%2,449-222$390$76,115,0126Disney
10Devil's Due$837,138-54%2,544--$329$9,145,3581Fox
11The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug$835,207-21%1,815-1260$460$249,360,0096Warner Bros. / New Line
12Her (2013)$797,775-28%1,7290$461$15,831,6195Warner Bros.
13The Legend Of Hercules$757,752-25%2,1040$360$15,130,5462Lionsgate / Summit
14The Hunger Games: Catching Fire$568,638-16%1,328-434$428$418,019,6119Lionsgate
15Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues$411,117-24%1,731-1281$238$122,510,2395Paramount
16The Secret Life of Walter Mitty$351,4487%1,037-1547$339$55,447,2894Fox
17Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones$202,127-48%1,569-1314$129$31,535,3523Paramount

Limited (100 — 999)

#TitleMon, Jan. 20 2014LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Gravity$440,224-10%944789$466$258,717,93016Warner Bros.
212 Years a Slave$429,491-1%761647$564$41,073,62714Fox Searchlight
3Philomena$288,162-18%505-102$571$24,312,0279Weinstein Company
4Dallas Buyers Club$225,695-20%419294$539$18,038,91512Focus
5Nebraska$203,517-8%408-113$499$9,861,44210Paramount Vantage
6Inside Llewyn Davis$194,907-21%585-144$333$11,239,3327CBS Films
7Captain Phillips$126,752-5%903789$140$105,768,18515Sony / Columbia
8Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2$125,37036%256-8$490$118,552,55617Sony / Columbia
9Walking With Dinosaurs$106,4741%454-885$235$34,402,7285Fox
1047 Ronin$66,885-45%343-1016$195$37,667,1054Universal
11The Book Thief$60,5853%190-113$319$20,217,87811Fox
12Thor: The Dark World$53,350--185-72$288$204,286,53611Disney
13Free Birds$45,58117%199-33$229$55,320,37612Relativity Media
14Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas$34,298-20%391-649$88$52,256,3876Lionsgate
15Grudge Match$30,953-19%408-1597$76$29,090,2404Warner Bros.
16Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom$26,10317%122-241$214$8,002,9808Weinstein Company
17Last Vegas$22,718-27%194-46$117$63,626,03912CBS Films
18Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa$15,366-41%154-38$100$101,978,84013Paramount
19Lee Daniels' The Butler$15,192-5%119-17$128$116,544,50923Weinstein Company

Platform (1 — 99)

#TitleMon, Jan. 20 2014LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1The Past$21,427--30--$714$398,0505Sony Pictures Classics
2The Invisible Woman$18,660--26--$718$279,4964Sony Pictures Classics
3Hubble 3D$16,786--155$1,119$42,202,570201Warner Bros. / IMAX
4All Is Lost$14,97649%62-7$242$6,192,16514Roadside Attractions
5Blue Jasmine$10,208--28--$365$33,155,72826Sony Pictures Classics
6Delivery Man$10,120--79--$128$30,079,2509Disney / DreamWorks
7Out of the Furnace$8,861-21%9760$91$11,273,3487Relativity Media
8Space Station 3D$6,852--31$2,284$89,873,976614IMAX
9Like Father, Like Son (2014)$4,469--2--$2,235$20,5131IFC Films
10Journey to the South Pacific$3,684--40$921$108,0198IMAX / MacGillivray Freeman
11Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters$3,650--24-9$152$68,552,87624Fox
12Blue Is the Warmest Color$3,583--12--$299$2,147,00813IFC Films
13The Best Offer$2,066--6--$344$21,6263IFC Films
14In Bloom$1,954--2--$977$21,1422Big World Pictures
15Big Bad Wolves$1,545--6--$258$7,8871Magnolia / Magnet
16Contempt (2013 re-issue)$1,3765%2--$688$40,57520Rialto Pictures
17The Armstrong Lie$1,300--9--$144$368,80711Sony Pictures Classics
18Maidentrip$1,283--1--$1,283$17,6095First Run Features
19Born to Be Wild 3D$1,165--71$166$23,137,632146Warner Bros. / IMAX
20Kill Your Darlings$1,083--12--$90$1,015,19614Sony Pictures Classics
21Life of a King$478--16--$30$5,7091Millennium Entertainment
22Under the Sea 3D$414--40$104$33,724,945258Warner Bros. / IMAX
23Muscle Shoals$392--11--$36$682,00517Magnolia Pictures
24Wadjda$342--8--$43$1,422,51819Sony Pictures Classics
25To the Arctic 3D$179--81$22$13,765,76492Warner Bros. / IMAX
26Indigo Children$131152%1--$131$1,9601Striped Entertainment
27Return to Nuke 'Em High: Volume 1$55-66%10$55$4,7902Anchor Bay Films