Avengers: Age of Ultron's box office run is coming to a close with approximately $1.4 billion worldwide in the bank. On its own terms, that's a great result. But there's no denying the fact that Disney was hoping for a bit more. All early predictions indicated that the film would compete with Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the being the top grosser of 2015. That it would be the highest grosser of the summer was taken for granted. However, as things currently stand - the film is the third highest grosser of 2015 worldwide, trailing Jurassic World and Furious Seven. Once Star Wars releases, it'll probably finish the year in fourth position. It's earned $100 million less than The Avengers did back in 2012, despite the growth of international markets and significantly higher returns from China. How did this happen? What went wrong? Lets take a look:
1) It simply wasn't as good as The Avengers
All early predictions took for granted the fact that the film would be as good as the original. The trailers looked great, Joss Whedon was a trusted director, and almost all early indicators were positive. Don't get me wrong - it was still a good movie, just not a great one which many hoped and expected it to be. And when you fail to match expectations, it causes disappointment, which was an emotion much associated with this film. The Avengers holds a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 8/10. Additionally, it holds an 8.2 on IMDB and is #201 on the IMDB top 250 of all time list. In its opening weekend, it managed a rare "A+" Cinemascore. In comparison, Age of Ultron holds a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 6.7/10. On IMDB, the movie is already down to a 7.9 and by the time it has the number of votes the original does, it will probably settle anywhere between 7.4 to 7.7. The film managed an "A" Cinemascore on release. I personally absolutely loved The Avengers and watched it multiple times in the cinema. Age of Ultron, while enjoyable, wasn't exceptional and I didn't feel the need to revisit it and I know many who felt the same.
2) It had more competition
In May 2012, The Avengers had to face off against Dark Shadows in its second weekend, The Dictator and Battleship in its third weekend, and Men In Black 3 in its fourth. Dark Shadows, The Dictator and Battleship were all critical and commercial failures, with rotten ratings and less than $100 million at the domestic box office and not enough internationally to be considered hits. The Avengers remained the most desirable film in the market until the success of Men In Black 3, almost a full month later. Age of Ultron, on the other hand found itself competing against the likes of both, Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road within two weeks of release. Both those films were critical and commercial successes performing well domestically and internationally, and definitely took some of Ultron's momentum. It didn't help that San Andreas sneaked in at the end of May with an opening weekend on par with Men In Black 3's.
3) Novelty and past/future Marvel releases
My parents, who don't normally watch superhero movies went to watch The Avengers in 2012. It was new, it was unique - never before had heroes shared the screen in such spectacular fashion and it was all anyone could talk about. Age of Ultron lost that advantage and many casual viewers who had watched the first one for its novelty probably didn't return since this time, nothing new was being offered. It didn't help that Age of Ultron had to follow Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy which are considered among the very best the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In an ideal world, this should have boosted the film's run but the fact that it fell short of both those films had the opposite effect. It also didn't help that everyone already knew that [The Avengers: Infinity War](tag:738027) is eventually coming and that's going to be the ultimate showdown with the big baddie, Thanos. Thus, this film inevitably had to be a sort of middle, transitioning chapter that not everyone felt obliged to witness on the big screen.
With all of that being said, I'd like to take a minute to acknowledge that The Avengers: Age of Ultron is still, by all measures an incredibly successful film that is much liked and enjoyed by many. This was just my take on why it didn't live up to its full potential. Hopefully, Captain America: Civil War kicks off Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in grand fashion.
What do you think? Do these reasons capture why The Avengers: Age of Ultron underperformed or is there more to the story? Let me know in the comments below!