Last weekend was one for the books. The accounting books, that is.
Superheroes battled to save the world; two boxers slugged it out to crown the best fighter of a generation; 18 awe-inspiring thoroughbred horses ran for a chance at history; and hundreds of young men were selected to become the next crop of professional football superstars.
Cash was thrown around like snowflakes in a blizzard, but who made the most money in a weekend of excess? Let’s take a look.
Disney and Marvel Studios
Weekend take: $187.6 million +
Avengers: Age of Ultron hit theaters across the country on Friday and unsurprisingly, moviegoers filled the seats. Early reviews of the film were slightly underwhelming but American audiences spent an estimated $187.6 million in the movie’s opening weekend. Including worldwide figures, Age of Ultron has already collected over $626 million and counting.
Weekend take: Unknown
The famous racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky saw its signature event, the Kentucky Derby, run on Saturday afternoon. The entire day was loaded with races which attracted bettors, partygoers and all manner of big spenders — aided by gorgeous weather. The race saw a record 170,513 fans and while the amount of money collected by Churchill Downs is a closely guarded secret, tickets reportedly cost over $500 each for uncovered seating.
Total betting on the race added up to $194.3 million, according to track officials, which totaled about $40 million in fees collected by Churchill Downs. That number is just the tip of the iceberg.
Weekend take: $200 million
They don’t call him “Money” for nothing. The controversial boxer remained undefeated in the ring — and the world’s highest-paid athlete out of it, after a highly anticipated fight with Manny Pacquiao on Saturday. Estimates of Mayweather’s payday for the bout have been as high as $200 million, including a check for $100 million which he flashed at the post-fight press conference. Perhaps the big winners of the match were HBO and Showtime, however. The two networks split pay-per-view rights, which brought in an estimated $400 million in buys.
Weekend take: $975 million
For many kids coming out of college, the hope of a full-time gig paying $40,000 a year would be a dream come true; NFL rookies play by a slightly different set of rules. The NFL Draft wrapped up in Chicago over the weekend with top pick Jameis Winston, 21, inking a contract worth $25.35 million over four years, including a $16.69 million signing bonus. In total, the league-wide pool of money allowed to be split among new draft picks was up to $975 million this year, according to Forbes.
Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.