Almost exactly three years ago, Marvel's The Avengers debuted in theaters, shattering the opening weekend box office record with $207.4 million, which hasn't been topped since. With Avengers: Age of Ultron opening in just a few short days, many are wondering whether or not the Marvel Phase Two sequel has what it takes to break this record and set a new box office standard. Early industry estimates are tracking Avengers: Age of Ultron to open anywhere between $210 million to $230 million, although the high end is said to be a very aggressive estimate. Here's what one unidentified studio distribution chief had to say in a statement.
"If the film opens and makes $190 million, and comes in as the second highest grossing weekend of all-time, how can that be anything but great?!"
Avengers: Age of Ultron will open in 4,247 theaters on Friday, 2,761 of which will be 3D venues, 364 IMAX theaters, 400 premium large format facilities, and 143 D-Box theaters. The 4,247-theater rollout is actually lower than Marvel's The Avengers' debut in 4,349 theaters, but the sequel is already selling three times as many advanced tickets as Furious 7, which opened with $143.6 million earlier this month. MovieTickets.com is also reporting that North American advance ticket sales for the sequel are already 3.7 times greater that sales of Marvel's The Avengers at the same point in their respective sales cycles. The site also reports that 84% of their sales in the past 24 hours have been for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Internationally, Avengers: Age of Ultron has already made over $200 million overseas, and it's possible that it could also surpass Furious 7 as the fastest movie to break $1 billion globally, which did so in just 17 days. Avengers: Age of Ultron will launch early in over 3,500 theaters with 7 PM preview screenings, as opposed to the midnight showings of Marvel's The Avengers. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 currently holds the Thursday preview record with a whopping $43.5 million in July 2011. Marvel's The Avengers has the 12th-highest Thursday preview of all time with $18.7 million.
Given the buzz behind Avengers: Age of Ultron, and how quickly the Marvel Cinematic Universe has turned into a box office juggernaut, it's completely possible that the sequel will shatter all of these box office records this weekend. How much do you think Avengers: Age of Ultron will make when it hits theaters nationwide on May 1? Let us know what you think below, and stay tuned for more on the sequel's box office performance throughout the weekend.