"Furious 7" took another victory lap at the domestic box office this weekend, but "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" crushed competitors overseas, launching to an estimated $201.2 million in its first weekend in foreign markets.
That has moviegoers and industry watchers even more geared up for next weekend, when "Age of Ultron" is expected to draw more than $200 million with its debut in the U.S. and Canada.
In its fourth weekend, “Furious 7” added $18.3 million to its total domestic haul, now an estimated $320.5 million. The film has kept its momentum thanks to positive critical reviews, an A grade from audience polling firm CinemaScore and dedicated fans who have seen the movie multiple times.
The performance of the Universal Pictures film, starring the late Paul Walker, has propelled the box office almost 4% higher than 2014, year to date.
Disney said Sunday that its new “Avengers” sequel has set records overseas, exceeding the 2012 “Avengers” movie by 44% at today's exchange rates. “Age of Ultron” also set an Imax box-office record for the largest non-China international opening of all time with a per-screen average of $60,000 in ticket sales.
It was the No. 1 movie in all territories that it opened in, including France, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Australia, South Korea, Argentina and Brazil.
The Marvel sequel brings back superheroes Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
"It's super, super encouraging," said Dave Hollis, Disney's head of distribution. "It really is as much a testament to the consistency that the Marvel team has brought to creating big, huge events in theaters."
The momentum overseas likely will help to drive the domestic box office.
Movie ticketing company Fandango reported that an estimated 54% of surveyed ticket-buyers said “Avengers: Age of Ultron” topped their list of summer picks.
"Marvel has really found a way to continue to stay ahead of really high expectations from consumers," Hollis said. "And the films leave people feeling overwhelmingly satisfied in their trip to the movie theater. "
Sony Pictures’ "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" stayed strong in second place domestically, dropping only 35% from last weekend and adding $15.5 million.
The sequel, which cost a relatively modest $30 million to make, stars Kevin James reprising his role as a security guard. Directed by Andy Fickman and released six years after its predecessor, the film follows Blart while he is on vacation with his family in Las Vegas. It costars Shirley Knight, Raini Rodriguez and Neal McDonough.
Moviegoers gave the film a B-minus on CinemaScore. To date, the PG-rated action comedy has made about $43.9 million in the U.S. and Canada.
Coming in at third, Lionsgate's new "The Age of Adaline" met tracking expectations with a launch of about $13.4 million.
"We're in a good place," said Richie Fay, Lionsgate's president of domestic theatrical distribution. "It was tracking in that direction. ... Anything can happen, so the fact that it came in exactly where we felt we would be is terrific."
Directed by Lee Toland Krieger, the film follows Adaline (Blake Lively), who has remained 29 years old for eight decades. It costars Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew and Ellen Burstyn.
The fantasy drama, which cost $30 million to make, marks Lively's return to the big screen after the 2012 Oliver Stone film "Savages."
“The Age of Adaline” fared well with moviegoers, with audiences giving it an A-minus rating on CinemaScore. The film played largely to women: An estimated 75% of the audience was female, and 58% of moviegoers were older than 25. The studio expects the film to play well in the coming weeks.
"If all the stars align properly we should have a great multiple," Fay said.
DreamWorks Animation's "Home" came in fourth. The film, released by Twentieth Century Fox, dropped a mere 22% from last weekend, adding an additional $8.3 million in its fifth weekend. It has collected about $153.8 million in the U.S. and Canada, making it a much-needed win for the Jeffrey Katzenberg-owned DreamWorks Animation.
Rounding out the top five, Universal’s thriller “Unfriended” dropped 61% from last weekend with a weekend gross of $6.2 million. However, with a $1 million budget, the film is already a hit for the studio. It has earned $25.2 million to date in the U.S. and Canada.
The well-reviewed artificial intelligence tale "Ex Machina," from A24, surged 581% after it expanded from limited release. The film, which came in sixth at the box office, collected $5.4 million over the weekend and raises its total haul to $6.9 million.
"I saw a tweet yesterday that said the film is 'Blade Runner' meets 'Social Network.' ... Sentiments like that really give you a scope about how people are thinking of this movie," said Heath Shapiro, a distribution executive at A24.
The film is drawing a core group ages 25 to 34, skewing male.
"I think the movie has taken off in the way it has because people are really responding to it," he said. "It's obviously building momentum."
Also in theaters, World War II drama “Little Boy,” distributed by Open Road Films, met tracking expectations with a $2.8 million launch in about 1,000 theaters.
In limited release, the Russell Crowe-directed drama "The Water Diviner" made about $1.3 million in 320 locations.
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