Walt Disney Co. said “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is poised to exceed $200 million in box-office receipts in its opening weekend in the U.S., with an all-time debut record “in sight.”
The film, which officially opened in the U.S. on Friday, is the sequel to “Marvel’s The Avengers,” the top-grossing movie of 2012. That picture, which featured Iron Man, Captain America and other Marvel superheroes, holds the record for best opening weekend at $207 million in May 2012. “Iron Man 3,” released a year later, is second with $174 million.
“Ultron” is poised to generate $200 million to $210 million, Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive vice president for theatrical distribution, said in an updated statement late Friday.
“No matter how we finish, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will finish the weekend with the top three biggest industry openings ever,” he said.
The sequel brought in $84.5 million in the U.S. on Friday, topping the $80.4 million opening-day gross of the original “Avengers,” Hollis said Saturday in an e-mail. Movie grosses are split roughly 50-50 between the studio and the theaters showing the film.
The public predictions, unusual for Disney, underscore the confidence the Burbank, California-based company has in “Ultron,” which stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson in an ensemble cast.
The picture cost $250 million to make, according to Boxofficemojo.com. Through Friday, it has taken in $425 million worldwide, after opening in international markets more than a week ago, Hollis said. “Ultron” grossed $27.6 million in Thursday “preview” shows, Disney said in an earlier statement.
Researcher BoxOffice.com said the film may take in $221 million in its opening weekend.
Moviepilot, another researcher, said the film may generate $227 million. The estimate is based on views of the movie’s trailers at YouTube.com, searches for the title at Google.com and other online metrics, according to Tobi Bauckhage, chief executive officer of Moviepilot.
“They’ve done an amazing job of fueling all expectations and buzz around it,” Bauckhage said. “This is as big as it gets.”