Even without the “X-Men,” Wolverine had enough strength to claw his way to the top of the box office.
“The Wolverine” was the #1 movie in theaters over the weekend with an estimated $55 million haul. That total was far below some of the more optimistic industry projections and even a bit below 20th Century Fox’s own conservative $60 million estimate. But while Hugh Jackman’s sixth appearance in the star-making role had one of the lowest starts for the “X-Men” franchise, it will likely benefit from positive reviews and word-of-mouth in the coming weeks.
The 2009 prequel, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” received even worse reviews than Brett Ratner’s franchise misstep, “X-Men: The Last Stand.” The much more character-driven “The Wolverine,” based on a classic early ’80s mini-series by comic book legends Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, has had Jackman and fans declaring it delivers the best onscreen version of the character.
Audiences who stuck around for the credits were treated to a brief “Avengers”-style Easter egg which (spoiler alert) teased next year’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which is currently shooting under “X-Men” and “X2″ director Bryan Singer. The next “X-Men” film will unite the casts of the original trilogy with the gang from the well-received prequel, “X-Men: First Class.” Jackman joined the rest of the “Days of Future Past” cast at San Diego Comic-Con, where Fox promoted “The Wolverine” as well.
Speaking exclusively with MTV News, director James Mangold revealed plans for an unrated version to reintegrate scenes that were cut to earn a PG-13 rating. “The Wolverine” made another $86.1 million in foreign markets over the weekend.
Last weekend’s #1 film, “The Conjuring,” slipped to #2 with $22.1 million. Considering the horror film’s reported budget of $20 million, “Insidious” director James Wan and distributor Warner Bros. must be thrilled with the $83.8 million two-week total.
Universal’s “Despicable Me 2″ collected $16 million to land at #3. The animated sequel has made a whopping $306.4 million since opening three weeks ago, about $50 million more than Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters University,” which opened six weeks ago. Fox’s similarly kid-friendly animation outing, “Turbo,” hasn’t fared nearly as well as “Despicable Me 2″ or “Monsters University.”
“Turbo” features the voice of Ryan Reynolds, who saw his “R.I.P.D.” live-action sci-fi picture bomb last weekend, as well. “Turbo” was #4 over the weekend with $13.3 million for a two-week total of $55 million; that’s against a $135 million production cost. Universal spent about as much on “R.I.P.D.” (which co-stars Jeff Bridges). That one has made just $24 million in two weeks.
Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups 2″ rounded out the top five with another $11.5 million, which was enough to push its domestic total past $100 million after just three weeks. As BoxOfficeMojo.com’s Ray Subers pointed out in a Tweet on Sunday, Sandler now has 14 $100 million movies to his credit — one more than Will Smith and only one fewer than Tom Cruise.
Starting Wednesday, Sony’s “The Smurfs 2″ will take a run at “Despicable Me 2″ at the box office.
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Wolverine.”