Weekend Box Office: Hulkbuster Makes a Blockbuster

For weeks, studio analysts said over and over again that the sequel to 2012’s ‘The Avengers’ would best its predecessor’s opening box office gross, becoming the highest domestic opener of all time. Now that the numbers have spoken, that wasn’t the case. However, the movie still made a killing.

The Avengers‘ kicked off in 2012 with an unprecedented $207.4 million. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘ opened to $187.6 million, falling short of setting a new high, but knocking ‘Iron Man 3’ ($174.1 million) out of the second-highest position. At this point, Marvel owns the top three biggest openings. Friday’s tracking placed the superhero sequel ahead of the original ‘Avengers’, but Saturday saw a steep decline.

Two factors are attributed for the inability of ‘Ultron’ to surpass the first ‘Avengers’. First, the Mayweather/Pacquiao Pay-Per-View fight event is assumed to have stolen potential moviegoers’ time and cash for tickets. Second, with the world already having seen the Avengers assembled on the big screen once before, the excitement to see that again may have worn off. With this opening, ‘Ultron’ is likely to bow domestically near $560 million. Overseas, the film is still seeing huge business despite not even having opened in a few major markets. After ten days, it has grossed $439 million. Combined, it sits at $626.6 million and is well on its way to $1 billion.

The vast majority of all other movies took a major hit. ‘The Age of Adaline‘ debuted in the #3 spot last week, but climbed into second place this weekend with $6.2 million even after dropping 52% in attendance. After ten days, it has earned $23.4 million. The reason for that rise came from ‘Furious 7‘, the previous first-place picture, suffering its heaviest blow yet (65%) due to ‘Avengers’ stealing its core audience. In third place, the racing sequel drew $6.1 million and now sits with a domestic total of $330.5 million and an international total of $1.42 billion, making it the fourth-highest grossing movie of all time behind ‘Avatar’, ‘Titanic’ and ‘The Avengers’.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2‘ tumbled 62% in attendance with $5.5 million. After 17 days, the $30 million PG-rated comedy has stolen $51.1 million of viewers’ money.

DreamWorks’ animated ‘Home‘ also took a 58% hit in attendance, rounding out the Top 5 with $3.3 million. To date, it has amassed $158.1 million domestically.

Strangely, the only movie to perform well against ‘Age of Ultron’ was a case of extreme counter-programming. ‘Cinderella‘ sat in 12th place last week, but climbed into the #6 spot this weekend even after losing 600 screens. It only slipped 14% and grossed another $2.3 million, pushing its domestic total up to $193.6 million.

Fox Searchlight’s romantic period drama ‘Far from the Madding Crowd‘ had a strong enough ten-screen opening that its platform release will continue in the upcoming weeks. It debuted to $172,000, for a $17,200 per-screen average. Kristen Wiig’s indie dramedy ‘Welcome to Me‘ had an even stronger limited opening in two locations. It earned $38,000, or $19,000 per-screen.

Opening numbers have yet to be released for Helen Hunt’s ‘Ride’ or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ‘Maggie’.

Top 10:

1. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ (Buena Vista) – $187,656,000

2. ‘The Age of Adaline’ (Lionsgate) – $6,250,000

3. ‘Furious 7’ (Universal) – $6,114,000

4. ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’ (Sony) – $5,550,000

5. ‘Home’ (Fox) – $3,300,000

6. ‘Cinderella’ (Buena Vista) – $2,357,000

7. ‘Ex Machina’ (A24) – $2,231,000

8. ‘Unfriended’ (Universal) – $1,988,000

9. ‘The Longest Ride’ (Fox) – $1,700,000

10. ‘Woman in Gold’ (Weinstein) – $1,681,000


  1. That’s sucks that Avengers AOU didn’t beat the opening record. I was pissed when I saw the numbers on Boxofficemojo yesterday. I thought for sure it would open bigger than its predecessor. I wonder if any of it may also have to do with people wanting it to die down before they go to a crowded movie theatre. I know quite a few people who said they would catch it in a week or two when the crowds have died down. Oh well, I’m still rooting for this one to be the biggest of the year.

    • Chris B

      Like Luke mentioned,I think a lot of people (including myself) stayed home or were at a bar watching the Mayweathey/Pacquio fight which had a significant impact on the performance. Too bad the fight turned out to be such a bust…

      • The last fight I saw on pay per view with friends and family was when Tyson took a chunk out of Holyfield’s ear. On one hand it was a little piece( literally) of boxing history, on the other hand, we kind of felt jipped that the fight was over so quick.

      • William Henley

        I went Saturday evening, and all three screens at that theater were sold out. Of course, in my auditorium, it was all geeky middle-aged men, preteen and teenage girls, and very young boys dressed in super-hero costumes, so none of us would have been in the demographic for the fights.

        I actually could not find a parking space in the parking lot saturday night, and had to park in the garage. That has NEVER happened. So the theater was packed

  2. theHDphantom

    It’s funny, here in Canada advertising for The Avengers: AOU has been terrible. The only commercials I see for it on TV are for Subway and toy commercials; no TV spots for the movie itself. Some of my friends weren’t even aware that it was even opening this past weekend. Don’t know how the advertising for it in the US is, but hopefully it’s better than it is here in Canada.

    “Second, with the world already having seen the Avengers assembled on the big screen once before, the excitement to see that again may have worn off”. Sorry, but I don’t think that’s a good excuse at all. Look at the recent Fast and Furious movie that came out. HUGE box office numbers. 7 movies in, and people still wanted to see the crew do what they do best.

    • I think some of that had to do with Paul Walker’s untimely death. I feel like maybe I read somewhere that an artist dying brings more attention and sales to their merchandise/product. I’ve also heard that if someone dies on an attraction at a theme park, that said attraction becomes more popular. Whatever the reason, I think it has to do with death.

      • theHDphantom

        That’s somewhat true, but Furious 7 was going to make huge money regardless. With the exception of the 3rd film, all the other movies have kept making more and more money since the first Fast and the Furious film.

        Also, Brick Mansions was released a few months after Paul’s death, and raked in only about $20 million in the US (and almost $50 million else where). You’d think that film would of garnered more people going to the theater to see one of his last films.

        But back to the new Avenger’s film, I’m still thinking it’ll make more money than the first one. I think it’s on pace to beat it right now, unless I’m mistaken.

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