“Avengers: The Age of Ultron” smashed its way to $84.4 million Friday, the second-highest opening day at the box office ever, but will still need a monster Saturday to break the record set by the original movie for the biggest opening weekend ever.
The first day of Disney’s Marvel superhero sequel — which included $27.6 million from Thursday shows — is bigger than the $80.8 million Friday of “The Avengers,” and behind only the $91 million first day of “Harry Potter and the Death Hallows Part II” on the all-time list.
But the first “Avengers” had a massive $69.5 million Saturday — falling less than 14 percent falling less than 14 percent from the combined Thursday-Friday haul — and “Age of Ultron” will require a similarly spectacular showing to top the original’s $207.4 million opening. It’s currently pacing to land somewhere between $200 million and $210 million for the three days, and its second day will be the key.
The “A” CinemaScore grade awarded by moviegoers — 60 percent male and 55 percent over the age of 25 — should provide a word-of-mouth jolt for “Age of Ultron.” But a packed Saturday sports slate including the Kentucky Derby, the NBA Playoffs and the boxing title fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will make it a challenge.
“Age of Ultron” continued to dominate internationally, and brought in $53 million from overseas on Friday, which was a May Day holiday in many countries. It remains at No. 1 in every market in which it is playing, and its worldwide total is now up to $425 million, with $340 million from overseas.
Whether it sets the mark or not, “Avengers: The Age of Ultron” will be the 11th consecutive Marvel movie to open at No. 1. The first weekend race of summer was over before it began, as rival studios steered clear and there no other wide openers.
“Furious 7,” the Universal blockbuster, saw its four-week run in the top spot end, and will wind up with around $7 million. It was all about “Age of Ultron”for moviegoers however, which will finish the three days with more than six times the combined total of the nine other leading films.
The huge Friday by the superhero sequel assures that the top three domestic debuts of all time will be Marvel’s. The $174.1 million opening of “Iron Man 3” in May of 2013, currently second, will be pushed to third.
Joss Whedon returns as writer and director for “Age of Ultron,” as does the ensemble cast topped by Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (the Hulk), Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye). Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen join the cast as Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.
Don Cheadle, James Spader and Samuel Jackson co-star in “Age of Ultron,” in which Earth’s mightiest heroes take on a Tony Stark artificial intelligence program gone rogue.
Kevin Feige, Marvel’s president and the architect of its sprawling “cinematic universe,” is the producer of the $250 million “Age of Ultron.” Stan Lee, Jon Favreau, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Louis D’Esposito and Jeremy Latcham are executive producers.