In April's least surprising entertainment news, Hollywood bean counters say Avengers: Age of Ultron will make a ton of money when it debuts in movie theatres. Just how much?
Likely more than any other movie ever**.
(** not adjusted for inflation)
Deadline reports that industry-tracking statistics released Thursday morning peg the Avengers sequel as outpacing the original film at this same point before its official release. Keep in mind that when all the receipts were tallied, the first Avengers earned the highest opening in history with $207.4 million back in May 2012.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is scheduled for full release in North America on Friday May 1, but several foreign markets will see open in their countries weeks prior. 'Midnight' previews (actually starting at 7pm) will kick off in North America on the evening of April 30. Deadline describes advance ticket sales as "through the roof" and outselling its predecessor, with some showings already sold out and exhibitors scrambling to add more showings.
The Hollywood trades and box office sites tend to take a conservative stance on tracking/projections, preferring to report over weekend updates that films are exceeding expectations rather than underperforming estimates (in other words, if you're going to err, give it a positive slant). The original Avengers for example was only "tracking"/projected for a $150+ million opening as late as May 2, 2012, two days before its North American debut - and with ticket sales from its earlier global openings already accounted for to gauge perspective.
For a more recent comparison, tracking for last weekend's Furious 7 two weeks before its release had projected a $115 million opening. The film outperformed those expectations significantly, however, eventually crossing the opening finish line with $147.1 million.
Of course there are no reviews in yet for Age of Ultron, which could effect opening weekend demand, but if the film is currently tracking to surpass the original's $207m, don't be surprised if by Monday, May 4 we're talking a much higher figure.