Vulnerable ‘Wolverine’ Claws to Box Office Top

'X-Men' Spin-Off Sequel Stumbles Stateside But Enjoys Best Global Launch Ever for Franchise

July 28, 2013 by

It was an easy win at the domestic box office over the weekend, but the spin-off sequel about the virtually indestructible mutant and an offer to relinquish his relative immortality might have left The Wolverine, an honorable mention on our list of most anticipated movies of the year, vulnerable to summer blockbuster fatigue. Despite being the first X-Men film to be offered in numbers-boosting 3D, The Wolverine‘s initial take of $55 million trailed that of 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand by nearly $50 million and that of 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine by about $30 million. The estimated $55 million debut of The Wolverine matched the opening of 2011’s X-Men: First Class, but it’s still less than half its reported budget of $120 million.

Who’s to blame for The Wolverine‘s underperformance? Maybe the decent trailers weren’t good enough to repair the general consensus that the last two movies to feature Hugh Jackman’s jacked mutant hero, X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, were disappointments (hey, I still managed to enjoy them though). Maybe this summer, which has already had its share of box office bombs, has been oversaturated with tentpoles. Maybe the recent news from Comic Con, which revealed plans for a Superman/Batman crossover and the Avengers sequel had fanboys distracted.

Whatever the case, The Wolverine can thank the rest of the world for saving its ass because its international opening was the best ever for the franchise and added $85 million to silence any talk of yet another big-budget flop this summer. And maybe its good reviews so far will keep Logan going.

The technical victory back here in North America displaced each of last week’s top five, led by true horror story The Conjuring, down one spot. After breaking Toy Story 3‘s animated opening record last month, Despicable Me 2 took third place over the weekend and crossed the $300 million mark domestically. Fellow computer animated family flick Turbo trailed by a few million, and Adam Sandler’s ensemble comedy sequel, Grown Ups 2, rounded out the top five as it crossed the $100 million mark stateside.

The upcoming weekend’s biggest threats to a Wolverine repeat are family trash The Smurfs 2, a comic series that became a popular kids’ TV show, and action comedy 2 Guns, also based on a comic series.

Here are the estimates for the top five over the weekend via BOM:

  1. The Wolverine — Weekend Gross: $55 million — Total Gross: $55 million (new)
  2. The Conjuring — Weekend Gross: $22.1 million — Total Gross: $83.9 million (#1 last week)
  3. Despicable Me 2 — Weekend Gross: $16 million — Total Gross: $306.4 million (#2 last week)
  4. Turbo — Weekend Gross: $13.3 million — Total Gross: $55.8 million (#3 last week)
  5. Grown Ups 2 — Weekend Gross: $11.5 million — Total Gross: $101.7 million (#4 last week)

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