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 Witherspoon-Sofia 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.
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.