There’s a hashtag on Twitter making the rounds which is a bit on the defensive side: #SuperHeroFatigueIsAMyth. Given that superhero movies are now completely mainstream — the dominant form of movie, and arguably pop culture, in this day and age — it strikes me as a little odd that some aren’t satisfied with CBMs being the most populist form of entertainment on the planet and cannot cede even slightly to the idea that audiences may be growing slightly tired of them. Last we counted (last summer), there was 23 superhero movies coming in the next four years, and in six months that number has climbed to over 30.
Did Disney/Marvel’s “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” have an amazing weekend at the box-office this weekend? Absolutely. The movie, having opened up a week early internationally, has already crossed the $ $620 million mark globally (an astounding $626.656 million total so far), and the film is surely on track to hit the $1 billion mark too, an incontestably massive success.
But two things are in play domestically that need to be observed. The North American box office continues a downward trend where the international one just keeps expanding and expanding. And it looks like at home, at least a little fatigue has set in. “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” opened domestically with $187.6 million — this is now the second highest opening weekend ever Stateside, and that’s 82% of all the box office totals this weekend — but the figure is down almost 10% percent from what the first ‘Avengers’ grossed in 2012 ($207 million; original projections were around the $220M mark). With three years inflation, and an even bigger and badder Marvel movie, profit from these sequels really should be rising, not dipping. Apparently Saturday’s Mayweather vs Pacquiao boxing match cut into the ‘Age of Ultron’ haul. Its Saturday night gross of $60 million was an almost 30% dip from the first film. So it’s the dilemma studios are facing: as box office begins to grow internationally, it continues to wane at home, as pirating, VOD, and other entertainment options cut into the theatrical experience.
Nonetheless, ‘Ultron’ has had a monster opening, and Friday’s $84.5 million grosses alone were the second biggest one-day total ever. Overall, ‘Age Of Ultron’ could surpass the $1.5 billion the original ‘Avengers’ grossed (that’s the third highest grossing film of all time worldwide), but the decline in the American box office is still starting to show across all genres of movies, including those with superheroes.
Now you can read this in two ways: Marvel has lost their magic (patently untrue), or Marvel is still doing spectacular business at the box office, but Stateside that business is plateauing slightly. Don’t panic, but make no mistake, all the studios are acutely aware of the North American drop-off across the board.
Elsewhere, box office challengers were non-existent because most studios wisely avoided going up against a Marvel behemoth that hoovers up all the audiences —aside from counter-programming indies. “Furious 7,” which held the box-office #1 for weeks running, finally dropped two positions, but its release date placement was perfect. ‘Avengers’ will sizably cut into its box-office, but the Universal film is already the fourth highest grossing film of all time — yes, it just surpassed “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” — so it’s sitting very pretty. Domestically, “Furious 7” is at $330 million and could potentially still hit $375-ish million (though it suffered a -65.7% drop), which would make one of the highest domestic grossing box-office films since “American Sniper” last year.
Lionsgate’s “Age Of Adaline” dropped -52.7%, but actually jumped up one spot to the #2 position as “Paul Blart 2” tumbled -62.4% in its third week. The rest of the top ten was otherwise much like as it was last week, with all the same movies holding onto the same relative slots and slowly plugging away at grosses. Though it must be said that DreamWorks Animation’s “Home” is exactly the kind of hit the ailing studio needed. The movie has grossed $328.3 million globally and has been in the box-office top five for several weeks now. A tiny drop of -14.8% in the eighth week of release for “Cinderella” — still at the #6 slot — demonstrates that film’s incredible legs. The Disney movie should be able to crack $200 million domestically, and as it approaches $500 million worldwide, don’t expect live-action versions of Disney classics to cease any time soon.
A24’s “Ex Machina” had the most noticeable shift. Last weekend, in the opening of its wide release, the movie cracked the top five. But in week two of expansion, the film dropped three spots and fell by -58.3%. Still, it’s made almost $11 million at home (it should surpass “Spring Breakers” to be A24’s highest grossing stateside film by next weekend), and like “It Follows,” its slow but steady path will end with it being one of the biggest indie success stories of the year.
In limited release, the biggest winner was Kristen Wiig‘s “Welcome To Me,” which scored $38,000 off two screens for a $19,000 per screen average. Fox Searchlight’s “Far From The Madding Crowd” was not far behind, grossing $172,000 from 10 screens for a solid $17,200. PSA.
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron — $187,656,000
2. The Age of Adaline — $6,250,000 ($23,424,000)
3. Furious 7 — $6,114,000 ($330,539,000)
4. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 — $5,550,000 ($51,186,000)
5. Home — $3,300,000 ($158,132,000)
6. Cinderella — $2,357,000 ($193,651,000)
7. Ex Machina — 2,231,000 ($10,868,000)
8. Unfriended — $1,988,000 ($28,531,000)
9. The Longest Ride — $1,700,000 ($33,240,000)
10. Woman in Gold — $1,681,000 ($24,588,000)