UPDATE (May 4): The actual box office figure came out today. It was a little better than the original estimate on Sunday — $191.3 million.
ORIGINAL POST (May 3) Avengers: Age of Ultron generated estimated U.S. ticket sales of $187.7 million, according to BOX OFFICE MOJO.COM.
That’s an enormous opening for any other movie, but it fell short of the $207.4 million opening of 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers.
Movie box office figures are now covered similar to corporate earnings and monthly auto sales. The figures are gauged against expectations and projections. When the numbers exceed estimates, it’s written as a success. When the numbers fall short, they are often viewed as a disappointment.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “tracking” numbers indicated an opening of $190 million to $230 million.
When the movie didn’t make that level, there was some spinning to do, if this excerpt from the Times story is an indication.
The studio, however, adjusted its expectations on Saturday evening given several major competing events, including the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao “fight of the century” in Las Vegas that kept some potential moviegoers in front of TV sets instead.
“Between the boxing match, NHL and NBA playoffs, the Kentucky Derby … looks like folks were distracted,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s head of distribution. “But the second-biggest opening in history of movie business is something to be proud of and also just the beginning of what we expect to be a spectacular run.”
In a SEPARATE STORY, Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo wrote that repeating a $200 million-plus was going to be hard.
“In the years since the first movie’s opening, no other title has opened anywhere close to $200 million,” Subers wrote. “To make it that high required a perfect storm of factors, which Age of Ultron couldn’t quite replicate.”
Marvel still looks to have an overall financial success. The movie had an estimated production budget of $250 million. According to Box Office Mojo, its worldwide ticket sales are $626.7 million already. The general rule of thumb is that a movie needs to bring in about 2.5 times to 3 times its production budget to be profitable. The original Avengers movie had worldwide box office of $1.5 billion.
Marvel is an example of the corporate model of making films, which emphasizes planning and predictability. Avengers: Age of Ultron is the climax of Marvel’s “Phase Two” of films. The studio already has outlined films for “Phase Three,” which will culminate in a two-part Avengers movie being released in 2018 and 2019.