Box Office: 'Hot Pursuit' Freezes Up With $13.3M; 'Avengers: Ultron' Hits $875.3M
'Age of Ultron' scores the second-biggest sophomore weekend of all time in North America after the first 'Avengers'; Jack Black's 'D Train' and Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Maggie' derail.
Mother's Day weekend saw new offerings from Reese Witherspoon, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jack Black all stumble at the North American box office, albeit to varying degrees.
In its second weekend, Disney and Marvel Studios' Avengers: Age of Ultron remained a force of nature, topping the chart with $77.1 million from 4,276 screens to jump the $300 million mark domestically in only 10 days and putting its world total at a stunning $875.3 million. The tentpole enjoyed the second-biggest sophomore weekend of all time after the first Avengers ($865.3 million), and tied with The Dark Knight to become the fastest film to reach $300 million behind Avengers (nine days).
Still, Age of Ultron fell more than expected in in North America, or 59.6 percent, compared to 50.3 percent for its predecessor. However, overseas, it continues to pace well ahead of Avengers, even though it has yet to open in China and Japan. For the weekend, it earned $68 million for a foreign total of $562.4 million.
Hot Pursuit, starring Witherspoon opposite Sofia Vergara, placed No. 2 with a disappointing $13.3 million from 3,004 theaters. The female offering was never expected to unseat Age of Ultron, but hoped to open in the mid- to high-teens.
Terrible reviews, and a C+ CinemaScore from audiences, surely hurt the MGM and New Line title, which marks the second-worst nationwide opening for a Witherspoon comedy after How Do You Know ($7.5 million). Also, younger females appeared to largely reject the movie, with 82 percent of the audience over the age of 25, and 46 percent over the age of 50. Overall, females made up 62 percent of the audience, and males, 38 percent.
Hot Pursuit did best in smaller markets in the South, where Witherspoon is a huge draw, as well as in Hispanic markets in the Southwest.
Anne Fletcher directed Witherspoon and Vergara in Hot Pursuit. MGM and Witherspoon's company, Pacific Standard, ran production on the $35 million movie, starring Witherspoon as an inept police officer who must protect the widow of a drug dealer from criminals and corrupt cops.
Hot Pursuit is one of a handful of summer films catering to females. Another is Pitch Perfect 2, which is already prospering overseas ahead of its May 15 debut in North America. The Universal sequel opened to a rousing $8.8 million in Australia — where star Rebel Wilson is from — and New Zealand, becoming the first title to unseat Age of Ultron in any market since the Avengers sequel opened overseas three weeks ago.
Witherspoon was last in theaters in Wild, the Fox Searchlight title that earned her an Oscar nomination. In terms of her last comedy, This Means War debuted to $17.4 million in February 2012.
In Australia, Pitch Perfect 2 raked in $7.6 million, 348 percent ahead of the first film and the fourth-biggest opening of the year to date behind Age of Ultron, Furious 7 and Fifty Shades of Grey. Its opening Down Under portends good things for its domestic opening, where it could take in $40 million or more next weekend.
Elsewhere in North America this weekend, the news was all-out dismal for Black's dark comedy The D Train, which IFC Films launched in 1,009 theaters, the widest opening in the history of the distributor, which generally relies on platform releases to build word of mouth.
D Train, directed by Jarrad Paul and premiering at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, grossed $469,185, the fifth-worst opening in history for a film opening in 600 to 2,000 theaters, not accounting for inflation. Black stars as the chairman of a high school alumni committee who decides to convince the most popular guy in his class (James Marsden) to come back for their 20th reunion, thinking this will make others want to attend.
Making a limited play was Maggie, the Arnold Schwarzenegger-Abigail Breslin zombie thriller. The movie opened to a meek $131,000 from 79 theaters. To date, Schwarzenegger has been unable to revitalize his big screen career, but this summer's Terminator: Genisys could bring a needed boost.
Elsewhere at the specialty box office, French biopic Saint Laurent opened to $36,136 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $9,034. Last year, rival project Yves Saint Laurent debuted to $24,207 from two locations for a theater average of $12,104.
Among holdovers, indie hit Ex Machina moved up the chart to No. 6, grossing $3.5 million from 2,004 theaters for a total $15.7 million. Furious 7 continued to place among the top 5, coming in No. 3 domestically with $4.5 million for a global total of $1.466 billion.
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