Weekend Box Office: In Shocking Failure, ‘Age Of Ultron’ Only Beat ‘Age Of Adaline’ By $181 Million

Avengers: Age Of Ultron earned an estimated $187.7 million (final numbers will be in on Monday) in North America this weekend, the second biggest opening of all time (behind The Avengers), which sounds great, and is. But going into the weekend, there were reports that Age of Ultron was outselling Avengers and Iron Man 3 (the first and third biggest opening movies ever) by 3.7 and 4.6 times. The Avengers made $207.4 million in 2012, and a $200 million opening prediction for Age of Ultron was considered “conservative.”

From Deadline, on Tuesday:

Conservative estimates see the film doing safely $200M at the domestic B.O. at a total of 4,247 engagements, but industry estimates see the Marvel superhero team film easily kicking the first Avengers, which owns the highest domestic opening of all-time at $207.4M, aside with a bow of $210M-$230M. Note that $230M is a very aggressive estimate. Says one rival distrib chief, “If the film opens and makes $190 million, and comes in as the second highest grossing weekend of all-time, how can that be anything but great?!”

Of course, predictions get harder when you’re trying to predict unprecedented numbers. Will it be the biggest ever or the second biggest?? It sounds like the film was red hot until critics and superfans saw it and then the tepid word of mouth cooled it off. I thought people would be pissed when I gave it a lukewarm review, but that seemed to be the consensus. So, fitting that it made less than the first, which was much better. As Forbes notes:

…the film did a hearty 14.7% of its weekend business on Thursday, which is way over the Marvel normal of 8-12%. Come what may, Avengers: Age of Ultron played less like a Marvel sequel and more like a feverishly anticipated “for fans only” sequel, at least for one weekend anyway.

There are other excuses though. Like the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, which was the obvious event to blame, since that old weather chestnut doesn’t seem applicable.

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. [THR]

I like my explanation better, but I’m sure the fight had some effect. Not that anyone’s crying. $187 million is still $187 million, and the three largest domestic openings are all Marvel films.

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 $627 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). [THR]

Ultron has earned slightly less than Avengers did at the same point, internationally ($626.7m to $641), but with all the different release schedules and varying rates of inflation it’s tough to make comparisons. The first Avengers eventually earned $1.5 billion (third of all time behind uncatchable Titanic and Avatar), but that was with a 92% recommended rate on RottenTomatoes and an A+ Cinemascore, compared to 75% and an A for the sequel. Incidentally, Furious 7 is currently sitting at fourth in worldwide gross, with $1.356 billion. Furious 7 and Avengers 2 seems like the more interesting race.

Oh, and I guess some other movies opened this weekend. Does anyone care? Age of Adaline made a fine $6.2 million in its second weekend, only $181.5 million less than Age of Ultron. Maybe 20 years from now, Sony can buy up the rights to Avengers: Age of Adaline, the shared universe everyone wants.

This week brings us a limited release for The D Train (it’s really good!) and Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara in Hot Pursuit, which looks like it should’ve come out in the 90s. The following week brings us Mad Max: Fury Road, and I know how hard everyone’s boners are for that.