‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Dominates with $77 Million 2nd Week at Box Office

It falls short of “Avengers” mark again but Disney’s Marvel sequel is out-earning original overseas. “Hot Pursuit” a distant second with $13 million

Marvel’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” again dominated the North American box office, retaining its No. 1 status and powering to $77.2 million, the second-largest second-weekend haul in history.

That left runner-up “Hot Pursuit,” the Reese WitherspoonSofia Vergara cop comedy that debuted with a soft $13.3 million, and the rest of the field in a different galaxy. But for the second consecutive week, Disney’s superhero sequel came up short of “The Avengers” in the record book, this time by plenty.

The 2012 original cruised to $103 million in its second weekend, after roaring to a best-ever $207.4 million opening weekend, so the encore performance by “Age of Ultron” — under the $85 million projections of Disney and most analysts — was a full 25 percent less than the original’s second-week outing. “The Avengers” fell off 50 percent from its first weekend in its second go-round, and the “Age of Ultron” total is 60 percent off from its debut.

While it’s now clear that “Age of Ultron” won’t match “The Avengers” at the domestic box office — its total is $312.8 million compared to the first film’s $373 million two-week haul — it’s outpacing it with foreign audiences.

“Age of Ultron” brought in another $68 million from overseas this weekend, raising its international total to $562 million, roughly 20 percent ahead of “The Avengers” at a similar stage, and its global total to $875 million. Foreign returns now comprise roughly 70 percent of most blockbusters’ worldwide grosses, so that makes it probable the superhero sequel will eventually top the $1.5 billion that the original took in, especially since it opens in China on Tuesday.

That would make it No. 3 on the list of all-time top-grossing movies worldwide, behind only “Avatar” ($2.8 billion) and “Titanic” ($2.2 billion).

MGM and Warner Bros.’ New Line had hoped for more from “Hot Pursuit,” particularly since it was Mother’s Day weekend and the PG-13 comedy directed by Anne Fletcher was aimed directly at women.

But bad reviews — it’s at a bleak six percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes — seem to have taken a toll. The audience, which was 62 percent female, was in tune with the critics and gave it a limp “C+” CinemaScore.

Lionsgate’s “The Age of Adaline,” Universal’s “Furious 7” and Sony’s “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” were all grouped next at a little over $5 million each.

“Ex Machina, the R-rated sci-fi tale, expanded by 732 locations for its widest run yet and brought in $3.4 million from 2,004 theaters for sixth place. It’s up to $15.7 million after five weeks domestically for A24.

DreamWorks Animation’s “Home” ($3 million), the Weinstein Company’s “The Woman in Gold” ($1.6 million), Disney’s “Cinderella” ($1.5) and Universal’s teen horror tale “Unfriended” ($1.4 million) round out the top ten.

The overall box office was a little under the comparable frame last year, when “Neighbors” debuted with $49 million for Universal. For the year, though, 2015 is running more than 6 percent ahead of last year.