Sequel ‘Age of Ultron’ pulls in $187.7 million domestically, but falls short of record set by the original film
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” opened to a phenomenal $187.7 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio estimates, the second-biggest debut of all time. But many in Hollywood were surprised it came in 9% lower than the record set three years ago by the original “Avengers,” which also opened the first weekend of May and kicked off summer moviegoing season.
Saturday night’s boxing match between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, along with the Kentucky Derby and NBA and NHL playoff games, undoubtedly depressed grosses a bit for “Age of Ultron,” from Walt Disney Co.’s consistently successful Marvel Studios. What’s not yet clear is whether the decrease in ticket sales indicate any audience weariness for Hollywood’s accelerating pace of big-budget “event” films.
The movie industry is expecting a blockbuster summer at the box office, thanks primarily to highly anticipated sequels such as “Jurassic World,” “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation,” “Ted 2” and “Minions,” as well as Pixar Animation Studios’ “Inside Out.” If even a portion of the population is growing tired of such films, that could be bad for major studios.
In good news, however, there are no signs of fatigue overseas. “Age of Ultron” has collected $439 million internationally after opening in many countries last week. Compared with the first “Avengers,” it has grossed 7% more in U.S. dollars and 31% more in local currencies in the same markets over the same period of time, said Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive vice president of distribution.
The most successful foreign country is South Korea, where the “Avengers”sequel has grossed $55.4 million. Part of the movie was shot and takes place in that country. This weekend, “Age of Ultron” set a record for the biggest opening of all time in Mexico, with $25.5 million. Read the rest of this entry »
Superheroes return in Marvel’s effects-and wit-filled sequel
John Anderson writes: Those truly committed to the Kremlinology of Marvel Comics will find “Avengers: Age of Ultron” a revelatory piece of 3-D entertainment. Who knew that the evil Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) had been working on the kind of robotics that would provide superhero/industrialist Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the groundwork for developing an artificial intelligence that could threaten the existence of all human life on Earth? Who knew The Incredible Hulk could be a romantic lead?
For those more concerned with what “The Avengers” movies do best—outsize spectacle and wry comedy—“Age of Ultron” has to be declared a victory. “Victory should be honored with revels,” declares hammer-throwing Scandinavian elocutionist Thor (Chris Hemsworth). “Who doesn’t love revels?” answers snark specialist Stark. “Revels” is a good word to describe it all, if one tends to revel in effects-driven mass destruction for the good of mankind.
Director Joss Whedon, under the auspices of the almost supernaturally profitable Marvel-Disney alliance, has brought back the core of 2012’s “The Avengers”—Mr. Hemsworth, Mr. Downey, Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Mark Ruffalo (the Hulk), Chris Evans (Captain America), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye)—along with several subordinate supervillains and heroes to embellish the plot and set up the sequel (well on its way, to judge by the closing moments of “Ultron”). They include the brother-sister act of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen), whose superpowers are the result of Strucker’s experiments and whose antipathy toward the Avengers is rooted in the devastation visited upon their native Sokovia by now-reformed war merchant Tony Stark.
If any of this seems complicated—the fictional Sokovia, for instance, or that there was also a Quicksilver in “X-Men: Days of Future Past”—you really have to just let it go, the momentum of the movie being too much for cogitation. Read the rest of this entry »
Imagine making your film debut in a movie that likely will gross more than $1 billion at the global box office. It sounds like a dream, but for South Korean model-turned-actor Claudia Kim, who has an important supporting role in Marvel‘s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” it is reality.
“I’m just so grateful. I auditioned without knowing what kind of project it was,” the 30-year-old Kim told Speakeasy in a telephone interview earlier this month. “Really, I was excited that finally I could do a movie. I’m so happy how it turned out.”
Kim had previously appeared in Netflix’s “Marco Polo” series as well as several shows in her native South Korea, and now she is rubbing elbows with the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and James Spader. In “Age of Ultron, she plays Dr. Helen Cho, a leading scientist who hangs with the Avengers but ultimately becomes a pawn in the villainous Ultron’s (Spader) plan to dominate the world.
“I’m just so grateful. I auditioned without knowing what kind of project it was. Really, I was excited that finally I could do a movie. I’m so happy how it turned out.”
— Kim, in a telephone interview with Speakeasy earlier this month
Yet, while Kim is pleased to be involved in a project of this size and popularity, she tries to keep her career in perspective. ”It’s still just another step for me, and it’s not because of this that I have such high expectations for the next project,” she said. “I’m just going to continue to think about what kind of films I want to do and what’s out there for me to audition for, and I love trying.”
Kim also talked about how she discussed South Korean cinema with Evans, who starred in South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer,” and she revealed which “Avengers” cast member really went out of his way to make her feel comfortable on set. An edited transcript of the interview follows.
When you read the part of Dr. Cho, she is very involved with the Avengers, she’s hanging out at parties. Did you approach the part worried that you would be around all these big superhero types, or were you fairly confident in yourself?
Of course I was nervous and excited at the same time. I felt the same way on set, but everyone was so welcoming, they made me feel really comfortable. Personally, I loved the challenge.
What did you guys do on down time? Was there was a lot of talk? Did you have fun? Did you hang out?
What was so inspiring and something I wanted to learn was how comfortable they were on set. All together, they got along so well. They were just making jokes, and within that process they would think of something even more brilliant. I was just enjoying that process, really.
Was there any particular cast member that you felt you really connected with?
I can only say such nice things about everyone, but James Spader really — he’s such an established actor, and he has so much more experience, and I was so grateful because he would really take care of me. He would ask, “Where should Dr. Cho be in this moment?” Or, “How do you feel about this?” He would really talk to me from my perspective. He would really care for me, and I’m so thankful for that.
When you finally saw the movie, and you saw yourself in front of this 10-foot evil robot instead of James Spader, how did that make you feel? Read the rest of this entry »
Ryan Gajewski reports: The heroes of Avengers: Age of Ultron won’t be assembling at a number of German theaters.
“We are worried, particularly about eastern Germany. When prices go up, then we have a serious problem that could force movie theaters to close.”
— Karl-Heinz Meier, spokesman for advocacy group I.G. Nord
Theaters in 193 small towns in Germany are refusing to screen the Marvel blockbuster, citing Disney‘s raised rental fee for the film, according to German publication Deutsche Welle. In total, the film is being kept from 686 screens.
Cinema owners told DW that they were taken aback when Disney announced it was upping the fee from 47.7 to 53 percent of ticket sales. Additionally, Disney is cutting its advertising spend and will not provide advances for 3D glasses. Read the rest of this entry »
Zach Epstein writes: It seems like Marvel can do no wrong these days. Every movie the company releases is a smash hit at the box office, and the upcoming film Avengers: Age of Ultron should end up being one of the studio’s biggest blockbusters of all time. Now, with the new Avengers movie inching ever closer to its premiere less than three weeks from today, Marvel has once again teased fans with a brand new clip from the film.
We’ve seen several Avengers: Age of Ultron trailers at this point, and Marvel has released a number of clips as well. We even have some great behind-the-scenes footage to enjoy from the upcoming superhero flick. And now, we can toss yet another tantalizing clip onto the pile….(read more)
Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1, 2015
The trailers for Avengers: Age of Ultron have so far given us hints of an epic, city destroying, to-hell-with-the-clean-up and insurance costs battle between the Hulk and Iron Man and a new TV spot teaser from Marvel gives us just that little bit more.
We still have no idea why Iron Man dons the Hulkbuster armor to take on his rage-filled fellow Avenger, but we do get to see more of Black Widow, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Captain America and Hawkeye and Nick Fury all look equal parts concerned, confused and a little afraid….(read more)
What do we do when people with too much time on their hands imagine that they are “injured” by an entertainment program? What do we do when their malignant fantasy develops, that they are deeply wounded (by the harmless, absurd utterances of innocent children on a late-night television program, of all things) and this victim fantasy compels them to publicly display their pretense of suffering? Well, we dismiss them. Ignore them.
But what do we do when the afflicted pretend-victims start a campaign involving public resources? Attempting to engage the office of the District Attorney in Los Angeles County–motivated by rage over an imagined injustice–these fools actually make a website to enlist others in their delusional grievance? What do we do then?
We openly mock them.
The Stoic philosophers would say: “Get rid of the judgment, get rid of the ‘I am hurt,’ you are rid of the hurt itself.” (viii.40)
Unfortunately, pre-modern Stoic philosophers didn’t have the internet. If they did, they could have had a lot more fun, at the expense of malignant grievance mongers. A generous dose of mockery is good for cleansing the imaginary wounds. Dissolving fake-victim fantasies is easy. It only takes laughter.
Have at it, boys and girls. Here is their website: