The summer box office season has officially arrived, and with it one of the most eagerly anticipated titles of 2015 – Avengers: Age of Ultron. Even if you are not among those that revered Joss Whedon’s 2012 blockbuster Marvel’s The Avengers, at this point you cannot be ignorant of the high expectations its sequel has generated.
On this weekend three years ago, Marvel’s The Avengers set the all-time domestic opening record with $207.4 million. To give you a sense of how astonishing that number was at the time, it was almost $30 million higher than even the most optimistic pre-release projections for the film. Though box office records had been climbing steadily in the decade before The Avengers’ opened, it was commonly believed that it would take at least another year for any film to break $200 million on its first weekend. After all, it took four years for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End to overtake 2002’s Spider-Man: the first film to earn over $100 million on its first weekend.
But this is all ancient history now. The Avengers did break $200 million and then wound up becoming the third-highest grossing title of all-time (both worldwide and domestic), behind only Avatar and Titanic. So far, no film has come close to matching The Avengers’ domestic opening, though that could all change this weekend.
According to studio estimates, Age of Ultron earned an estimated $84.46 million on Friday, including $27.6 million from its Thursday previews. That stands as the second-highest single-day opening of all-time, behind the $91 million of 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Ultron’s first day also tops the $80.8 million of Marvel’s The Avengers, which included $18.7 million from midnight screenings alone. It was later that summer that distributors stopped scheduling big releases at midnight, following the mass shooting at the Aurora, Colorado premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. In most locations, Age of Ultron previews began at 7 p.m.
With Friday’s estimates in, the only question now is how high can Age of Ultron expect to climb this weekend? Initial projections ranged from a low of $174 million (what Iron Man 3 earned on this weekend in 2013) to as high as $225 million. It now appears that $210 is the number Disney/Marvel is aiming for. That would not be the overwhelming win that some were expecting, but considering that the sequel will have stiff competition on Saturday night from some sort of big-time sporting event, that may be the best Ultron can hope for. Check back tomorrow to see if the reassembled Avengers end up beating their own box office record.
Here’s how Friday’s ridiculously top-heavy top five chart looked:
|1.||Avengers: Age of Ultron||$84,460,000||$84.4|
|2.||The Age of Adaline||$2,210,000||$19.3|
|4.||Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2||$1,775,000||$47.4|