You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Wolverine’ claws to top of box office

Prequel nabs record bow for Fox with $87 mil

Scoring an important win for the franchise, 20th Century Fox’s prequel “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” grossed an estimated $87 million from 4,099 runs to mark the studio’s best-ever non-holiday bow at the domestic box office.

Kicking off the summer tentpole season, “Wolverine” also displayed sharp claws overseas as it grossed $73 million from more than 9,100 runs in 101 markets for a worldwide opening of $160 million. In many individual markets, “Wolverine” saw the best numbers of any film in the franchise.

Domestically, “Wolverine” scored the second-best domestic bow after “X Men: The Last Stand,” which opened to $102.8 million over Memorial Day weekend in 2006. “Last Stand” and “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” which grossed $108.4 million over Memorial Day weekend in 2005, are Fox’s two highest openers.

In other domestic B.O. action, enough females showed up to give Warner Bros. and New Line’s romantic comedy “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” a solid opening gross of $15.3 million from 3,175 screens, mirroring the $14.8 million bow of Sony’s “Made of Honor” on the same weekend a year ago.

Roadside Attraction’s 3-D toon “The Battle for Terra,” however, wasn’t able to make the cut. Family film grossed an estimated $1.1 million from 1,159 runs to come in No. 12.

Domestic B.O. revenues were essentially flat with the same frame a year ago, when Paramount’s “Iron Man” opened to $102.1 million. The ability to keep pace with last year is attributed to the new entries and a steely crop of holdovers.

Sony’s “Obsessed” fell 57% in its second frame, but still pulled in $12.2 million for a cume of $47 million in its first 10 days. Warner Bros./New Line’s “17 Again” followed “Obsessed” with a gross of $6.4 million in its third weekend for a cume of $48.5 million. DreamWorks Animation/Paramount’s “Monsters vs. Aliens” fell just 32% in its sixth sesh to $5.8 million for a domestic cume of $182.4 million.

“Wolverine’s” bow is a key victory for Fox, Marvel Entertainment and star Hugh Jackman, since it likely keeps the franchise alive.

Fox senior VP of distribution Chris Aronson called Jackman the “X-factor.”

“Audiences have a huge appetite for Hugh Jackman, for the character Wolverine, and the Wolverine that Hugh has created,” Aronson said. “Almost half of the moviegoers polled said the film was better than expected.”

Film, directed by Gavin Hood, also played more broadly than some box office observers had expected. Women made up 47% of the audience, and generally gave the film a higher score than men. Film drew a slightly older audience, with 52% over the age of 25.

“Wolverine” declined 15% from Friday to Saturday, a relatively small decline compared to other fanboy-driven films.

“Wolverine” wasn’t able to match the opening gross of “Iron Man” because the latter drew a younger audience.

Fox co-financed “Wolverine” with Dune Entertainment. Pic cost $130 million to produce after Australian tax credits, meaning the film’s worldwide bow has exceeded the budget. That doesn’t include a hefty marketing spend for the worldwide launch.

“Wolverine” all but matched the $76.3 million international launch of “X-Men: The Last Stand” when accounting for fluctuating currency exchange rates.

Pic had plenty to overcome, beginning with piracy. A month ago, a working copy of the pic was posted on the Internet. Studio says the piracy could have cost the film as much as $20 million in its debut.

There seemed to be minimal damage in those countries where piracy is rampant. Film still finished No. 1 in many of those territories, including China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. In Germany, “Wolverine” grossed $4 million, the lowest of the four “X-Men” films. It also came in second in South Korea at $3 million.

But in Singapore and Malaysia, “Wolverine” marked the biggest Fox opening of all time, earning $1.6 million and $1.2 million, respectively. Pic grossed $990,000 in the Philippines, the top opening of the year.

Germany and Singapore in particular are known as hotbeds of illegal movie downloads.

“Wolverine’s” international appeal was impressive, and virtually matched the opening of the “X-Men: The Last Stand.”

The U.K led the way with $9.8 million — the best Brit launch of the year. That was followed by France ($7.4), Australia ($5.7 million), Spain ($5.5 million), Brazil ($4.8 million), Russia ($3.7 million) and Italy ($3.5 million).

In addition to piracy, Fox also had to contend with the flu epidemic, which closed down cinemas in Mexico City and other Mexican cities.

Fox postponed the launch of “Wolverine” in Mexico until May 14, situation permitting. Mexico is an important territory for the “X-Men” franchise.

As with any franchise that sees multiple installments, “Wolverine” had to pass the muster with fanboys. Movie got so-so reviews, but it was still able to win over its core demo — at least on opening weekend.

On Friday, “Wolverine” will have to contend with Paramount’s “Star Trek,” which opens day and date. (Par has postponed the Mexican launch until June 5.)

Warners prexy of distribution Dan Fellman said that “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” came right in line with expectations. Of the audience, 70% were women, while 30% were under the age of 25. He said the Matthew McConaughey-Jennifer Garner starrer should see strong legs next weekend because of Mother’s Day.

Fellman, giving a shout out to New Line, also pointed to the continuing box office success of Zac Efron starrer “17 Again.” In addition to staying high up on the domestic B.O. chart, “17 Again” came in No. 2 at the international box office with $8.3 million at 1,852 in 25 markets, led by a $3.6 million launch in Spain. Pic has cumed $38 million overseas for a worldwide tally of $86.5 million.

In its first major foreign launches, Disney’s “Hannah Montana: The Movie” connected with its preteen demo with $6.7 million at 1,050 in a dozen markets. On the domestic side, “Hannah Montana” placed No. 9 in its fourth weekend, declining 37% to an estimated $4.1 million.

Universal’s Russell Crowe topliner “State of Play” continues to struggle. In North America, film finished at No. 10, grossing $3.7 million in its third weekend for a domestic cume of $30.9 million. Film earned a respectable $5.1 million at 1,422 in 14 territories for the weekend, bringing the foreign cume to $12.4 million and a worldwide tally of $43.4 million.

The notable specialty opener was Jim Jarmusch’s “The Limits of Control.” The Focus Features release posted a per-location average of $18,087 with an estimated $54,233 from three theaters. Results were strongest from Jarmusch’s Manhattan homebase.

In its second week, Sony Pictures Classics’ docu “Tyson” grossed $70,910 from 13 screens for a cume of $201,445.

Michael Keaton’s directing debut “The Merry Gentleman” from Samuel Goldwyn Films opened in three markets, with $72,240 from 24 screens.

More Film

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT Miramax has acquired film rights to Lauren Iungerich’s holiday-themed screenplay “I [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. Warner Bros. has been developing the project for many [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

  • Michael Lynne

    Former New Line Co-Chairman Michael Lynne Dies at 77

    Michael Lynne, the former co-chairman of New Line Cinema who played a key role in shepherding the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, has died at his New York home. He was 77. Lynne’s death was confirmed Monday by longtime business partner Robert Shaye, who told Variety that Lynne’s family had informed him of Lynne’s passing [...]

  • Marisa Liston

    Sony Veteran Marisa Liston to Lead Lionsgate Movie Publicity

    Lionsgate has named Sony Pictures veteran executive Marisa Liston to lead all feature film and motion picture group publicity and communications strategy. Liston, who departed Sony in late 2018 after 17 years, has been assigned the newly created title of head of global earned media and communications. She will oversee domestic and international feature film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content