‘Age of Ultron’ Outpacing Original ‘Avengers’ With $700 Million at Global Box Office

Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara comedy “Hot Pursuit” ideal for Mother’s Day weekend, but Disney’s Marvel sequel will dominate again

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” may never match “The Avengers” at the domestic box office, but Marvel Studios’ superhero sequel will cross $700 million globally on Wednesday, and will almost surely top the worldwide grosses of the original in the long run.

“Age of Ultron” didn’t break the opening weekend record of “The Avengers,” and is trailing it domestically after five days in domestic release, but ultimately will top the original’s $1.51 billion worldwide haul for Disney, BoxOffice.com senior analyst Phil Contrino said Wednesday.

The Monday and Tuesday numbers for “Ultron” — $13.1 million and $13.2 million — trail the comparable $18.8 million and $17.6 million put up by “The Avengers.” And its domestic total after eight days is $217.6 million, compared to the $244 million of “The Avengers.”

“Comparisons are unfair because ‘The Avengers’ was a unique situation, but overseas is going to make up for any dip domestically because of the substantial growth in the foreign market since 2012, especially in China,” Contrino said. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” will open there on Tuesday.

The blockbuster sequel directed by Joss Whedon has taken in a little over $478 million from abroad after two weekends in release, while “The Avengers” was around $425 million at a similar point, though it’s not a direct comparison because of varying dates and countries.

“Age of Ultron” will be back for its second weekend in North American theaters on Friday and should easily outpace two new comedy movies, Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara’s “Hot Pursuit” and “The D Train” with Jack Black and James Marsden.

UTC_6-20-14_06103.CR2Mother’s Day weekend was always the target launch date for “Hot Pursuit,” in which Witherspoon plays a cop and Vergara is the drug lord’s wife that she’s protecting. The PG-13-rated comedy directed by Anne Fletcher is aimed directly at moms and daughters and will be in 2,700-plus theaters. That will translate to an opening between $15 million and $20 million for MGM and Warner Bros.’ New Line, say the analysts.

In “The D Train,” Black plays a small town dad trying to lure a former classmate-turned-Hollywood hunk (Marsden) to their high school reunion. IFC Films will have it in around 1,000 theaters, so somewhere between $1 million and $2 million is a good bet.

But “Age of Ultron,” produced for $250 million, is being measured against an even tougher customer in the original “Avengers,” which casts a huge box office shadow.

That film’s $103 million second weekend remains the best ever, and was just a 50 percent drop from its $207.4 million opening in 2012, also the best ever. A comparable dip would put “Age of Ultron,” which came up short of the opening mark with its $191 million debut, around $95 million. But Disney is projecting a $85 million for this weekend, a 55 percent falloff.

“I think it makes clear what an incredible phenomenon, with all of our favorite superheroes coming together, that ‘Avengers’ really was,” said Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “And we now know, with 20-20 hindsight, how tough trumping that was going to be. “

He sees “Age of Ultron” getting a second-weekend boost from many of the boxing fans — and the friends and families they invited over — who missed the opening for parties around the pay-per-view Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout.

“The fight became the event last weekend, like a Super Bowl, and a lot of people, especially those with families, will make this “Ultron” weekend,” he said.

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