‘X-Men’ On Track for Huge $125 Million Memorial Day U.S. Debut

The controversy surrounding director Bryan Singer’s sexual assault lawsuits likely won’t hurt “X-Men: Days of Future Past” at the box office.

The seventh “X-Men” pic is on track for a $125 million Stateside opening on Memorial Day weekend. The film launches day and date worldwide, including China, on May 23.

The four-day estimate would put the action-adventure on par with the highest-grossing film from the ever-growing franchise, 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand.” “Last Stand” (a.k.a. “X3”) hauled almost $123 million domestically during its four-day Memorial Day opening weekend. It set the Memorial Day weekend record, which has since been topped by “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

Insiders predict that “Days of Future Past” could earn an estimated $250 million total domestically, which would make it the most financially successful “X-Men” movie to date Stateside. “Last Stand” made $234 million, while the latest “X-Men” pic, “X-Men: First Class,” made less than any other installment, with $146 million. Although it’s still doing good business, the franchise has taken a stumble both Stateside and worldwide after “Last Stand.”

“X-Men” is an even bigger cash cow overseas, with “First Class” reeling in almost 60% of its revenues from foreign markets. “Days of Future Past” will open in Japan on May 30 and Spain on June 6.

“Days of Future Past” is the most star-studded of the pack as it combines the cast of the original “X-Men” trilogy (veterans Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry) with that of 2011’s “First Class” (crossover stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy). Lawrence’s star power has skyrocketed since 2011’s “First Class” following the mega-success of her other franchise, “The Hunger Games,” and two Oscar noms (one win).

While younger moviegoers will be drawn to Lawrence, die-hard “X-Men” fans and older audiences will likely flock to theaters for Jackman’s sake. As the star of two Wolverine spinoffs (the second is set for 2017), he’s the actor most synonymous with the franchise.

Fox is pulling out all the stops to promote “Days Of Future Past.” With Singer dropping out of all press obligations, the film’s stars will “divide and conquer” (as they say during a promo). Jackman, Fassbender and McAvoy, and the rest of the gang will embark on a worldwide premiere tour, called the “X-Men X-Perience,” with stops in London, Moscow, Singapore, Melbourne, Beijing and Sao Paulo.

Viral marketing has teased the movie through stills and clips on social media. Singer himself took to Twitter during this summer’s production to share on-set photos and later tease trailers. Fox also cleverly held off on revealing movie footage until recently.

It still remains to be seen how much, if at all, Singer’s scandal will affect the movie. Michael Egan, now 31, filed a lawsuit last month accusing Singer of sexually assaulting him in the late 1990s. Egan claims he was 15 years old when Singer forcibly raped him. An anonymous British teen filed a similar suit last weekend.

Although he directed the franchise’s first two movies, Singer’s isn’t as associated with the franchise as his peers Joss Whedon and Christopher Nolan are attached to “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight” superhero movie series. Singer left the director’s chair in 2002 after “X2: X-Men United” to make “Superman Returns” and “Jack the Giant Slayer,” which flopped at the box office and starred “Days of Future Past’s” Nicholas Hoult. But he’s creatively responsible for the biggest “X-Men” opening with “X2: X-Men United,” which debuted to $86 million in 2003. He produced “First Class” and is set to direct 2016’s “X-Men: Apocalypse.”

Projects helmed by filmmakers touched by scandal aren’t necessarily hurt at the box office — Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” performed well at the specialty box office and Cate Blanchett won a best actress Oscar for her performance in the movie. “The Ghost Writer” was critically acclaimed in 2010 when Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for extradition to the U.S., which he fled in 1978 after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

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  1. Frank N. Weiner says:

    this is idiotic, three weeks out. Who is advising on box office at Variety these days?

  2. danny says:

    dreaming

  3. noraytrades says:

    This movie looks really bad. I doubt it will break $100

  4. speediejoe says:

    ” As the star of two Wolverine spinoffs (the second is set for 2017), he’s the actor most synonymous with the franchise.” Actually, the THIRD is set for 2017, there have been two Wolverine spinoff movies so far. The first was poorly received and people say we should pretend it doesn’t exist. But, as a statement of fact, the third will be in 2017

  5. A. says:

    interesting how the article didnt mention how The Wolverine is the lowest of the franchise on USA, but instead said its First Class, mmm.
    Wrong data there

  6. BillUSA says:

    How about the other accused? What movies have they worked on that are about to premier?

  7. therealeverton says:

    “A lot of little boys”? There are girls too, the primary location is a school!

    Also you seem to have left the word alleged out of your post, you don’t want to get sued do you?

  8. TC Kirkham says:

    Allegations aside, I don’t think much of Singer as a director – he should stay in the producer’s chair, and let others direct. “First Class” was easily the best of the entire XMen franchise thus far, and trying to mix his earlier version of the XUniverse with that of Matthew Vaughn’s take seems to have produced a film that is so confusing and hard to follow, if the trailer is taken at face value, that a lot of people will end up just staying away. I have a lot of friends who absolutely love the XMen, and every single one of them have said they will be passing on this film – they hated the trailer, and the time travel aspect, and don’t believe that Singer’s film version will stay true to the original story. I will be going…and I hope i’m pleasantly surprised as I was with “First Class”…but i’m not holding my breath. And if Fox is seriously thinking the film is going to do that well…I’d hate to be the Monday Morning Quarterback that weekend, because I think it will be lucky to make even half of what their tracking is telling them.

    • Joseph Daley says:

      So they hate the time travel aspect, even though that’s one of the most crucial crux’s of the ‘Days of Future Past’ comic storyline? Which is the most (Well “Age of Apocalypse” & “Dark Phoenix Saga” are it’s closest rivals in terms of quality) well received X-Men comic storyline of all time…. Sounds to me like you and your friends don’t really “Love” the X-Men

    • therealeverton says:

      If anything it is underestimated. Also the international takings will be massive.

      Super hero films make their own use of characters and existing stories, they do not, as a rule, see to adapt them literally. If so First Class was a terrible film to you and your friends s it didn’t have the First Class in it; nor did it follow the comic book ‘First Class.’

    • The Kingslayer says:

      No it’s not, X-Men 2 is easily the best in the series!

  9. Demond says:

    Box Office would only be hurt if an actor were accused of these crimes, not a director that only film buff know by name.

  10. bassemtodary says:

    If he did molest the kid then the movie should be boycotted. If people don’t go to see a movie because of the indiscretions of the direction then it sends a message to get rid of him.

    • therealeverton says:

      You can’t boycott a film because one of the people behind it is ACCUSED of a crime.He is INNOCENT until proven guilty. The only thing to boycott would be X-Men Apocalypse in 2016; but if he makes that it’ll likely have been shown he was innocent all along.

    • The Kingslayer says:

      Why should all the rest of the cast and crew be punished for one persons actions?

      • Jim says:

        Why should all the American employees of the Beverly Hills Hotel be punished because of the sultan?

  11. It’s very sad to see people who believe everything they see even if things weren’t yet proved. You should know that it was a civil suit because Eagan has nothing at all to prove what he’s saying, as he may be obviously looking for money and no more than that. The fact is that none of us know what really happened (or IF something happened), so you should wait a bit more before assuming that it’s all true. And, very well said by Rich, Singer’s personal life has nothing to do with the movie whose production took the work of many other people who have nothing to do with SInger does or does not in his life.

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