A huge sports day prevented 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' from breaking box-office records

Avengers age of ultron hulkbusterMarvel‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ grossed $US187.7 million, making it the second-largest opening weekend film ever.

Although $US191.3 million now makes “Avengers: Age of Ultron” the second-largest box-office opening weekend for a film ever, the latest Marvel blockbuster could potentially have made more if it didn’t run into an epic day of sporting events this weekend.

“Ultron” was projected to make close to $US220 million this weekend, surpassing the all-time weekend opening gross currently held by 2012’s “The Avengers” ($US207.4 million). However, Saturday had one of the biggest sports days in recent memory outside of the Super Bowl. There were the playoff games in professional basketball and hockey, the Kentucky Derby, and, finally, the touted “fight of the century” between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“It was one of the greatest sports days perhaps in history,” Dave Hollis, distribution chief at Disney, told Variety. “It feels like a barrage of sporting options grabbed a lot of people’s attention.”

Floyd Mayweather and Manny PacquiaoSteve Marcus/ReutersManny Pacquiao rarely hit Floyd Mayweather.

Before Pacquiao and Mayweather squared off in Las Vegas Saturday evening, there was a lot for sports fans to enjoy before then. Many donned their fancy hats and hit parties to watch American Pharoah win the Kentucky Derby; the latest edition of the rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox took place; the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals squared off in the NHL Playoffs; and in a dramatic Game 7 that was decided by a buzzer beater, the Los Angeles Clippers edged the San Antonio Spurs to advance in the NBA playoffs.

It was certainly evident at the box office as “Ultron” ticket sales dropped 32% on Saturday following it’s $US84.4 million take on Friday. (Sunday’s numbers slipped 20% from Saturday.)

In comparison, ticket sales for 2012’s “The Avengers” took a 13.9% dip from Friday to Saturday when it opened in 2012.

Looking at the two opening weekends side-by-side is incredible since “Ultron” made more money than its predecessor in Friday ticket sales.

Movie Friday opening weekend gross (ticket sales) Saturday gross Sunday gross
The Avengers” (2012) $US80.8 million $US69.6 million $US57.1 million
Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) $US84 million (estimate) $US57.2 million $US46 million
Kentucky Derby American PharoahAP Photo/David J. PhillipVictor Espinoza rides American Pharoah to victory in the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 2, 2015, in Louisville, Ky.

By Sunday night, networks running some of the sporting events boasted their big days.

NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby delivered the highest ratings in 23 years. And HBO/Showtime reported an estimated $US400 million take in pay-per-view revenue from the Pacquiao/Mayweather fight, which ended with Mayweather winning in a unanimous decision.

The “Avengers” sequel isn’t hurting though. The movie is already well on its way to becoming the second $US1 billion film of the year. So far, the sequel has made over $US626 million worldwide.

“Ultron” is expected to have another big weekend coming up with the only competition being the comedy “Hot Pursuit,” starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara.

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