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Continuing a winning streak, Disney’s Monday actual figures show Joss Whedon‘s Avengers: Age of Ultron opening to $191.3 million from 4,276 theaters in North America, the No. 2 opening of all time behind The Avengers.
The film performed better than expected Sunday, when estimates put the three-day take at $187.7 million.
Overseas, where the summer’s first tentpole began opening last weekend, Age of Ultron earned another $168 million from 88 territories for a foreign total of $439 million and early worldwide haul of $631 million. In only 12 days, it has surpassed the lifetime global earnings of Captain America ($371 million), Thor ($449 million), Iron Man ($583 million) and Iron Man 2 ($622 million).
In North America, all eyes were on the sequel to see if it could beat the $207.4 million debut of the first Avengers on the same weekend in 2012 and become the new champ. Instead, it came in more than 9 percent behind.
As the weekend wore on, it became apparent that Saturday night’s Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight was hurting Ultron in a big way. Some box office observers believe the movie could have approached $200 milion were it not for competition from the PPV event. Moviegoing tumbled 40 percent from Friday to Saturday in Los Angeles and San Francisco, for instance, and more than 50 percent in some Hispanic markets, such as El Paso, Texas.
Costing $89-$99 to watch, the fight is expected to have generated hundreds of millions in revenue. Additionally, thousands watched the fight on pirate sites. “The fight dinged all films across the board. The numbers on Ultron are still phenomenal but definitely less than they would have been,” said one rival studio executive.
Males made up 59 percent of Ultron‘s audience, while nearly 60 percent of ticket buyers were 25 and over. Families represented 22 percent and teens 12 percent.
Disney and Marvel now boast the top three opening weekends of all time domestically, thanks to the two Avengers entries and Iron Man 3, which debuted to $174.1 million in May 2013. Age of Ultron pushes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 ($169.2 million) to No. 4.
Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief, says it’s a testament to the “extraordinary achievements of Marvel,” as well as the vast resources of Disney, from the film division, to theme parks to consumer products, among other units.
“We are in a great place,” says Hollis “And if someone didn’t see Ultron Saturay night, they will see it today or next week. And overseas, in local currency, we are pacing 31 percent ahead of the first Avengers.”
Only eight films in history have opened to $150 million or more domestically, with only Marvel cracking the $170 million threshold. In other words, when a film gets to the level of Age of Ultron, no one is going on the attack against Marvel and Disney.
The bigger question will be Age of Ultron‘s staying power, and whether it can ultimately match the $1.5 billion earned by Avengers worldwide in 2012. The latter had the cachet of being the first superhero mashup and earned an A+ CinemaScore, compared to an A for Age of Ultron.
On Friday, Age of Ultron grossed a massive $84.5 milion domestically, the biggest opening day for a superhero film and the second-biggest of all time after the final Harry Potter film ($91.7 million). In 2012, Avengers pulled in $80.8 million on its first Friday. However, Age of Ultron lagged behind Avengers on Saturday ($57.2 million versus $69.6 million).
Overseas, Ultron posted the biggest opening of all time in several markets this weekend, including Mexico ($25.5 million). Ditto last weekend in Brazil, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Overall, Korea leads with $55.4 million, followed by the U.K. ($48.1 million), Brazil ($29.5 million), Russia ($27.2 million), Australia ($23 million), France ($23 million), Germany ($19.7 million), Italy ($15.2 million), Taiwan ($14.3 million), India ($14 million) and Hong Kong (13.3 million), among other territories.
Imax theaters showing Whedon’s film generated $25.2 million in worldwide ticket sales this weekend without the benefit of China, a new record, inlcuding $18 million in the U.S. Rival premium large format screens turned in $13.5 million in the U.S.
Age of Ultron, costing $250 million to make, returns Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Chris Evans as Captain America and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. The ensemble cast also includes Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle and Paul Bettany.
This time, the superheroes and their allies must work together to stop Ultron (James Spader), who intends to destroy the world.
Elsewhere, Universal’s Furious 7 finished Sunday with a global gross of $1.429 billion, passing up Deathly Hallows ($1.341 billion) to become the No. 4 top-grossing title of all time at the worldwide box office behind Avengers, Avatar ($2.8 billion) and Titanic ($2.2 billion).
No other film dared open nationwide opposite Age of Ultron, leaving the rest of the box office battle to holdovers.
Blake Lively-starrer The Age of Adaline placed No. 2 in North America, falling 53 percent in its second weekend to $6.3 million for a 10-day cume of $23.4 million for Lakeshore and Lionsgate. Furious 7 followed with $6.1 million, while Sony’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 placed No. 4 with $5.5 million for a domestic total of $51.2 million.
A24 Films’ indie hit Ex Machina crossed $10 million in North America, grossing $2.2 million from 1,279 theaters for a total of $10.9 million. The sci-fi film placed No. 7.
At the specialty box office, Fox Searchlight’s Far From the Madding Crowd, based on the classic Thomas Hardy novel, opened to $172,000 from 10 theaters in five cities for a location average of $17,200.
And Alchemy Entertainment’s Welcome to Me, starring Kristen Wiig, opened to $38,168 from two theaters for a location average of $19,084.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
THE AGE OF ADALINE
PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2
THE LONGEST RIDE
WOMAN IN GOLD
9:15 am, May 4 Revised with Monday actual figures from Disney.
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