Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in North America this Friday and early tracking pegged its domestic release potentially topping its predecessor to become the biggest box office opening weekend ever. Marvel’s sequel to The Avengers is already open in some international markets, and in its first two days, opening mid-week in 26 countries, it brought in $44.8 million, notably setting a record in South Korea as the biggest opening day for any movie in the country. It’s not a coincidence that part of the film was shot on location there.
This weekend however, Avengers 2 opened in more markets, just over half of the regions it will open in overall, and set even more records which bodes well for the worldwide box office total for Marvel Studios’ largest project to date and for building momentum going into its North American debut.
In the UK, Avengers: Age of Ultron outpaced Marvel’s most successful entries Iron Man 3 and The Avengers by 54% and 40%, respectively in its opening there after hosting a London press junket. Over the weekend however, its first real test, it opened overseas against The Age of Adaline and the champion of the last three weekends, the billion dollar hit Furious 7, where it beat out total weekend international estimates of $160-175 million and brought in a total of $201.2 million according to ERC, crushing the first Avengers’ international opening by 44%.
Of course, there are changing exchange rates and inflation to account for – not to mention a different set of starter markets – so all things being equal, Age of Ultron still conquers the first Avengers by 44% and Iron Man 3 by 24% in the same countries at today’s exchange rates. Even IMAX saw its biggest non-China opening with Avengers 2, bringing in $10.4 million as well.
It’s important to note, that the Avengers sequel hasn’t yet opened in its other major market of China and won’t do so until May 12th. As it stands, Age of Ultron is Disney-Marvel’s biggest foreign release without that crucial market and sits just slightly behind Transformers: Age of Extinction’s foreign opening (which did include China). The other big potential market for Marvel is Japan where Avengers 2 won’t open until July 4th.
At the moment, Furious 7 is dominating the international scene and this weekend it crossed the $1 billion foreign box office milestone, only the third film ever to do so behind James Cameron’s two epics: Avatar and Titantic.
The big question now is in how much Avengers: Age of Ultron can ride the momentum in its North America debut where it’s currently battling less positive reviews compared to its predecessors and the last two releases from Marvel (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy). Will Earth’s Mightiest bring in more than $207.4 million domestically on the May 1st weekend?
Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill and Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Spider-Man on July 28, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4 2018, Black Panther on July 6 2018, Captain Marvel on November 2 2018, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3 2019 and Inhumans on July 12, 2019.