'Avengers' tops box office with $77.2m

Disney and Marvels comic book adventure has made $312.9 million domestically since debuting last week.

Cast of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Picture: Avengers Facebook page.

LOS ANGELES _ Avengers: Age of Ultron_ iced out Hot Pursuit at the weekend box office, picking up $77.2 million and topping charts for a second consecutive time.

Disney and Marvels comic book adventure has made $312.9 million domestically since debuting stateside ten days ago. That massive figure makes it the second fastest film to clear $300 million domestically, and its sophomore weekend is the second biggest in movie history, surpassing Avatars $75.6 million haul.

The film Avengers: Age of Ultron trails on both counts? Its predecessor, 2012s Marvels The Avengers, which had earned $373 million at a similar point in its run after scoring a $103 million second weekend.

Its a dominant force, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. These second weekend numbers would be a great opening weekend debut for a lot of films.

Internationally, Avengers: Age of Ultron picked up $68 million, pushing the film to $875.3 million globally. Given that major markets such as China and Japan are still left to open and domestic audiences continue to embrace the film, Avengers: Age of Ultron should have no trouble becoming the second 2015 release to clear $1 billion globally, behind Furious 7.

With Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of the super team dominating ticket sales, Warner Bros. Hot Pursuit landed with a thud, picking up a frosty $13.3 million opening from 3,003 locations.

The Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara retread of The Heat was crippled by withering reviews, with its debut falling short of projections that pegged an opening of $18 million or higher. Its also on the low-end of Witherspoons recent bows for more commercial fare such as Water for Elephants ($16.8 million debut) and This Means War ($17.4 million debut).

Given our expectations it was a little lighter than we had hoped for, said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. distribution executive vice president.

He argued the negative critical reaction took a toll.

Where we did business, we way over-indexed in the South and in the small towns, said Goldstein. We were lighter in the East in review-driven markets.

The film about an anal retentive cop (Witherspoon) trying to protect a drug boss widow (Vergara) was also backed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Witherspoons Pacific Standard production company. Hot Pursuit attracted an audience that was percent female and 82 percent over 25 years old.

Beyond the modest debut number, a C+ CinemaScore means word-of-mouth will be of the cautionary variety. The budget was a relatively economical $35 million, but the film will struggle to become profitable without a much warmer reception in foreign territories.

In third place, Lionsgates The Age of Adeline earned roughly $5.6 million, dropping 10% from its previous haul and bringing its total to $31.5 million.

Universals Furious 7 slid into fourth place with $5.2 million pushing its domestic total to $338.4 million after six weeks in theaters. Globally, the action sequel has earned $1.5 billion.

Sonys Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 snagged fifth place with just under $5.2 million, bringing its domestic total to $58.1 million.

A24 continued to expand Ex Machina, moving it from 1,279 theaters to 2,004 locations where it earned $3.5 million. The twisty sci-fi thriller has made $15.7 million during its theatrical run.

Among art house titles, IFC Films released the Jack Black/James Marsden high school reunion comedy The D Train on 1,009 screens where it did a mediocre $469,185. Fox Searchlight tried to capitalise on the Mothers Day holiday, moving from 10 to 99 theaters and pulling in $760,721 in the process. The adaptation of Thomas Hardys classic novel has earned $1 million since debuting last week.

Despite the presence of Earths Mightiest Heroes, the overall box office trailed ticket sales from the year-ago period by roughly percent.Avengers: Age of Ultron easily topped the second weekend of Amazing Spider-Man 2, which made $35.5 million in its sophomore frame, but Hot Pursuit paled in comparison to Neighbors $49 million debut.

Next weekend brings Mad Max: Fury Road and Pitch Perfect 2, two highly anticipated sequels that should goose ticket sales.