Box Office: ‘Wolverine’ Should End Flop Streak With One of Summer’s Best Openings

Fox franchise pic tracking in the $75 million-$80 million range

Cauterizing Hollywood’s streak of big-budget bleeding at the box office, Fox’s “The Wolverine” should score one of the best three-day openings this summer, tracking between $75 million and $80 million through Sunday.

If the film lands at the high end of tracking, the latest installment from Marvel’s “X-Men” franchise — which doesn’t use the “X-Men” name anywhere — would rival some of the best openings from the property’s previous pics, though some observers are more cautious, citing expectations in the $60 million-$65 million range.

Either way, “Wolverine,” which cost just under $120 million to produce, will be a welcome shift from the recent misfire mania that included “White House Down,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Pacific Rim” and “R.I.P.D.” last weekend. Fox pic launches launches Friday at 3,924 theaters.

The most notable difference with “Wolverine” is its globally bankable franchise origins, as well as the reliability of star Hugh Jackman as the metal-clawed mutant. The character’s last bigscreen outing, 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” earned $85 million during its opening weekend and cumed almost $180 million domestically, despite generally bad buzz.

Fox is giving “The Wolverine” a big international rollout this weekend, taking advantage of fewer sizable day-and-date pushes lately. The film launches in 62 markets, including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, South Korea and the U.K.

SEE ALSO: Film Review: ‘The Wolverine’

As the only nationwide wide release domestically, “Wolverine” also benefits from one of the first less-crowded weekends in a jam-packed summer. This fact bodes well for the weekend’s holdovers, as well.

In particular, Warner Bros.-New Line’s champ last weekend, “The Conjuring,” could see a better-than-expected soph sesh hold given the lack of new competition. What’s more, “The Conjuring” rated better than the average horror pic in exit polls. So far, the $20 million-budgeted pic has cumed nearly $58 million domestically.

Other holdovers that should continue to hold well include Universal’s “Despicable Me 2,” which will cross $300 million Stateside this weekend, and Sony’s “Grown Ups 2,” poised to hit nine figures through Sunday.

For “Wolverine,” a $70 million-plus domestic opening would put it higher than “Star Trek Into Darkness’s” debut gross, rivaling the low-$80 million three-day openings of “Monsters University” and “Despicable Me 2.”

“The Wolverine,” which is directed by James Mangold (“Walk the Line”), relocates Jackman’s clawed immortal to Japan where he faces a deadly battle. Pic has a mostly international supporting cast, including Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada and Svetlana Khodchenkova.

In limited release, Sony Pictures Classics launches Woody Allen’s Cate Blanchett dramedy “Blue Jasmine” at six theaters. Buzz is building fast for Blanchett’s performance as the widow of a Bernie Madoff-like swindler.

The weekend is more crowded with aggressive specialty releases, with CBS Films’ R-rated laffer “The To-Do List” launching at 591 engagements. Aubrey Plaza stars in the raunchy laffer about a young woman’s feverish quest to lose her virginity.

Fox Searchlight and the Weinstein Co. also expand “The Way Way Back” and “Fruitvale Station,” broadening to 886 and 1,064 locations, respectively.

Bowing

Film (Distributor): Locations

  • The Wolverine (Fox): 3,924
  • The To-Do List (CBS Films): 591
  • Blue Jasmine (Sony Classics): 6

Expanding

  • Fruitvale Station (Weinstein): 34-1,064
  • The Way Way Back (Fox Searchlight): 304-886

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  1. em says:

    this movie is already being reported as a flop. Made less money then any other X-men movie.

  2. Julienne says:

    Because he’s the only smart actor not to spew vitriol and Political crap. He’s an actor…and he sticks to what he knows.

  3. Joel says:

    Nice!!

  4. KyBo says:

    This summer’s box office receipts are suffering from what I like to call “Blockbuster Fatigue.” Over the last few summers, cineplexes have been saturated with over-the-top, big budget, 3D movies that have done pretty fantastic overall, considering the rough economic stiuation of the U.S.

    That level of success is finally coming to an end. The “awesomeness” of 3D is beginning to wearing off, and as we’ve seen this summer, moviegoers are becoming more selective about which movie they drop $12-$15 a ticket on. Big-name franchise films like Iron Man 3 did well, while Pacific Rim floundered. Even Man of Steel failed (or will eventually fail) to break $300 million domestically, below what WB was expecting.

    The Wolverine is, or at least should be, an omen of how likely studios are willing to drop big money on films going forward. As a character, Wolverine is a proven success at the box office, Hugh Jackman is well-liked as the title character, and this is the franchise’s first 3D outing. If the film opens successfully, and doesn’t see a huge drop next weeekend, it shows that big franchises are still safe to greenlight big budgets. If it opens to lower than expected numbers or sees a sharp drop next weekend, it’s likely to cause some trepidation on the part of studios about pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into summer film budgets.

  5. Jean-Michel says:

    How much do you think it’s going to make in Japan and China?

  6. The Kingslayer says:

    Pacific Rim isn’t really a flop if you look at the internatiol figures. The world doesn’t revolve around America’s box office.

  7. harry georgatos says:

    Will do impressive box-office but was disappointed with the movie overall. Just a conventional standard piece of filmmaking. Tedious emotional scenes bring the film to a sudden stop. Nowhere as visionary as X-MEN 2 and X-MEN FIRST CLASS. Waiting next years new X-MEN from director Bryan Singer which is set in the ’70’s and has an intriguing time-travelling plot. The two stand-alone WOLVERINE films have been a let-down.

    • pacRimKicks says:

      X2 opening set piece with NightcrawIer is one of my favorite all time comic book movie scenes so I agree with you there.

  8. Byron H,The Jedi says:

    Please don’t include ‘Pacific Rim’ in that list of other bullcrap movies, PR was an enjoyable spectacule from start to finish and judging from the many positive fan comments I’ve read on other movie web sites, the vast majority of movie goers who have seen Pacific Rim, I think would agree with me,on this.

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