There’s no question about it: Walt Disney Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron will maintain its superhero grip on No. 1 with an estimated decline of approximately 50-60%. Insiders feel $85M is the sweet spot for Ultron’s second weekend, while more hyper projections for the Marvel team feature are at $100M. Through Monday, Ultron has punched up $205M stateside. The first Avengers in 2012 fell 50% making $103.05M in its second sesh. Out of the 10 Marvel character feature films that have bowed during the first weekend of May since 2002 when Spider-Man moved up the start date of summer, eight of them have held the top spot at the B.O. during their sophomore frames. Heading into this weekend, Ultron will maintain its collective superpowers at 364 Imax venues, 400 premium large format theaters and 2,761 3D engagements.
It’s Mother’s Day weekend and in recent years it’s been a prime launchpad for female-skewing pics. As such, Warner Bros. and New Line are making a direct play for the demo with its femme road comedy Hot Pursuit starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. Sources expect the film to deliver at least a FSS in the high teens at 3,003 theaters. Previews start Thursday night. Recent Mother’s Day weekend heydays at the B.O.,which have pulled in predominantly older female auds, include 2013’s The Great Gatsby ($50.1M), 2012’s Dark Shadows ($29.7M) and 2011’s Bridesmaids ($26.2M) — all of which have legged out against mega summer tentpoles at the summer B.O.
Hot Pursuit follows a by-the-numbers, high-strung Texan police officer played by Witherspoon who must escort a drug lord’s high maintenance, glamorous wife (Vergara) to a Dallas witness protection trial. However, the duo encounter more than they bargain for on the road. Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard production company shepherded the $35M-budgeted film. MGM co-financed 50% of it, Warner Bros.’ finance partner Rat-Pac handled 12.5% while the studio covered 37.5%.
IFC Films is aiming to hook those guys hungover on Ultron to its Jack Black comedy The D Train, which they acquired at Sundance for $3M. Comedy follows a high school alum, who in planning a reunion, chases down an old school chum who has hit it big in Hollywood. The D Train will be hitting an estimated 1,000 stations with at least a $1M. Some industry sources think it could get as high as $2M.
Searchlight is also looking to lure in the ladies with its expansion of Carey Mulligan period romance pic Far From the Madding Crowd which is going from 10 screens to 99 across 19 additional markets. Pic posted a $16,500 per theater last weekend for a $164,985 bow. Cume through yesterday is $201,655.
A24’s Ex Machina will widen from 1,279 playdates to 2,000-plus. The film, counting a domestic take of $11.2M, is A24’s widest release in the distrib’s history and bound to be the label’s highest grossing film surpassing its 2013 cult hit Springbreakers which made $14.1M.