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Weekend Movie Preview 2015: 'Avengers: Age of Ultron', 'Far From the Madding Crowd'' Hit Theaters

First Posted: Apr 30, 2015 05:00 AM EDT

This weekend the summer season kicks off with "Avengers: Age of Ultron" opening in theaters. The season will also see holdovers "Furious 7" and "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" continue to do solid business.

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" 

Three years after the original installment, Joss Whedon's second installment hits theaters. The new film, starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, tells the story of Tony Stark who tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program but things go awry. As a result, it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans. The film is expected to open to record breaking numbers with some forecasting a $250 million opening. Disney has giving the film a strong push and is opening it in 4,200 theaters. Reviews have been solid, but it has not received the same raves as the first installment. Critics have complained about the convoluted plot and the over-indulgent action. Nevertheless, the film will definitely bring fans of Marvel comics and superheroes to the multiplex.

"Far From the Madding Crowd" 

Two years after his Oscar nominated film "The Hunt" Thomas Vinterberg returns with an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's acclaimed novel. The period drama tells the story of an independent and headstrong young woman, Bathsheba Everdene who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor. The film stars Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts and Michael Sheen and has received rave reviews. Critics have been raving about Mulligan, with most stating that it her finest performance. While it is a summer release, if the film over performs at the box office, it could become an awards contender. Fox Searchlight is opening the film in limited release and hopes to expand it in the following weeks.

Other films that will be released include Magnolia's "Iris," Alchemy's "Welcome to Me" the acclaimed Tribeca film "Hyena." Strand will unveil "Gerontophilia" while Screen Media will release "Ride." Music Box Films will release "The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" and Tribeca Film will release "Far from Men."

There will also be a number of holdovers, including the successful "Furious 7." While the movie will likely lose a lot of audience during the weekend due to the "Avengers," the movie will continue its successful run.

For those not interested in action films, "The Age of Adaline: will continue in theaters" as well as "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2."

The Indie film "Ex Machina" is expected to continue its strong breakout run. The film over performed last weekend when it expanded. With good word of mouth, A24 will continue to expand it. The film will likely become the company's highest grossing film of all time.

"Home" will also continue to play for family audiences while Orchard will expand the critically acclaimed documentary "Dior and I." "Clouds of Sils Maria" and "While We're Young" will also expand.

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