Avengers: Age of Ultron had a huge opening weekend domestically—$187.7 million, huge but still only the second biggest opening of all time. Luckily for Joss Whedon, the record is still held by the original Avengers movie which opened with $207.4 mil in 2012. While A:AOU is doing very well, the numbers for the weekend were definitely impacted by the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao “Fight of the Century”
As the weekend wore on, it became apparent that Saturday night’s Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight was hurting Ultron in a big way. Some box office observers believe the movie could have approached $200 milion were it not for competition from the PPV event. Moviegoing tumbled 40 percent from Friday to Saturday in Los Angeles and San Francisco, for instance, and more than 50 percent in some Hispanic markets, such as El Paso, Texas.
Costing $89-$99 to watch, the fight is expected to have generated hundreds of millions in revenue. Additionally, thousands watched the fight on pirate sites. “The fight dinged all films across the board. The numbers on Ultron are still phenomenal but definitely less than they would have been,” said one rival studio executive.
While you ponder the idea that the once in a lifetime sight of two real life villains whacking each other’s gloves for 12 rounds for $100 could have been more appealing to people than a two 1/2 hour CGI toy-ad for $15 or so, note that A:AOU has already made $627 million worldwide. That’s a great number but Avengers made $1.5 BILLION, so the follow-up has a lot of catching up to do.
That said we hung out with many people this weekend who had yet to see A:AOU but were planning to as soon as they could, so the movie has a shot and really making some money.
It wasn’t just The Big Fight that singed the Avengers, it was Saturday’s entire sporting lineup:
Yep, apparently, the boxer walloped more than Manny Pacquiao on Saturday. He also beat up on the Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of the Marvel heroes. Well, not just Mayweather. Saturday was a perfect storm of high-profile sporting events. Besides the much-touted boxing match, there was the Kentucky Derby, NBA and NHL playoff games, and some big-deal baseball games, including Yankees vs. Red Sox. So that’s a whole lot of eyeballs that were too busy watching sports to watch the superhero-vs.-robot competition in theaters, noted Disney Executive Vice President for Theatrical Distribution Dave Hollis.
BTW While Marvel’s The Avengers i currently the #3 domestic release of all times, on the inflation adjusted chart, it only clocks in at #27. While these comparisons are always flawed, it’s a reminder of what kind of entertainment drew people in the past, when attention spans were longre and a film like The Exorcist (#9 all time inflation adjusted) could have controversy grow over the course of a long run with more and more people going to see what the fuss was about instead of just downloaded it illegally.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.