×

‘Wolverine’ looks sharp at the box office

McConaughey's 'Girlfriends' out in 3,000 runs

Just how much will 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” wolf down in its worldwide debut today, which marks the start of the summer box office?

“Wolverine” comes on the heels of the best winter and spring ever at the box office. Domestic revenues are up 15% through Tuesday, admissions 12%. Considering those gains, expectations are high for the summer sesh.

In a counterprogramming move, Warner Bros. and New Line are opening Matthew McConaughey-Jennifer Garner romantic comedy “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.” Last year, Sony’s romantic comedy “Made of Honor” opened to $15 million when debuting the same weekend as Paramount’s “Iron Man.” Warners takes “Girlfriend” out in 3,000 runs.

Roadside Attractions is looking to snag some family biz this weekend with 3-D toon adventure “Battle for Terra,” which opens in 1,159; 3-D pics have been seeing strong box office thanks to the premium cost of a 3-D ticket.

Predictions vary for “Wolverine.” Fox, trying to manage expectations for the Marvel prequel, is saying in the $70 million range. Tracking suggests the spinoff/prequel could open much higher.

“Wolverine,” returning Hugh Jackman in the title role, is tracking on par with “Iron Man,” which debuted to $102 million on the same weekend a year ago.

But there are mitigating factors that could eat into “Wolverine’s” earnings. A month ago a working copy of the film was pirated and leaked on the Internet. Fox insiders say it could cost the film $20 million in B.O. revenues considering that hundreds of thousands of copies were downloaded.

Territories in Asia, where piracy is rife, could be particularly impacted. Germany is also a hotbed for illegal movie downloads.

Fox opens “Wolverine” in 4,099 theaters domestically in the widest opening ever for the studio. Pic was produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, John Palermo and Jackman. Directed by Gavin Hood, “Wolverine” cost $130 million to produce after Australian tax credits. New faces to the franchise include Liev Schreiber and Taylor Kitsch.

“Wolverine” is getting so-so reviews, which could also take a bite out of the box office, although fanboy titles are generally review-proof on opening weekend.Universal’s spring box office hit “Fast and Furious,” which earned dismal reviews, opened to $70 million domestically on its way to cuming $316.7 million worldwide.

The previous title in the franchise, “X-Men: The Last Stand,” debuted to $102.8 million over Memorial Day weekend in 2006. Gross was boosted by the four-day holiday weekend. “X2: X-Men United,” like “Wolverine,” opened on the first weekend of summer, in 2003, grossing $85.6 million. “X-Men” opened to $54.5 million in July 2000.

If “Wolverine” does the kind of worldwide business that the previous three films did, Fox will have found a way to extend the life of a franchise that’s very important to the studio.

On the foreign front, Fox is going with a near-saturation launch for “Wolverine,” which opens in 9,000-9,200 playdates and in every major market except Japan and Mexico.

Fox decided over the weekend to postpone the launch of “Wolverine” in Mexico, where it had been set to open today, because of the flu outbreak.

Pic opened Wednesday in Australia, Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Malaysia and South Korea.

International prospects appear impressive given that the three “X-Men” franchise pics have generated over $550 million in foreign coin, with 2006’s “The Last Stand” taking in $224 million outside the U.S.

With “Wolverine” set to dominate and “Star Trek” going day-and-date next weekend, distribs are limiting the openings to a few targeted markets as counterprogramming plays.

“Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” will go day-and-date in the U.K., while “17 Again” opens in Hong Kong and Spain and Taiwan. “Duplicity” will launch in Germany, and “State of Play” opens in Italy and South Korea.

There are a number of specialty openers at the domestic box office.

Focus Features opens Jim Jarmusch’s “The Limits of Control” in three theaters in New York and L.A. Pic stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Hiam Abbass, Bill Murray and John Hurt.

IDP/Samuel Goldwyn drama “The Merry Gentleman” bows in 24 theaters. Pic marks Michael Keaton’s directorial debut. He also stars in the film. IFC Films opens Tim Daly starrer “The Skeptic” in one theater in New York.

Lantern Lane releases documentary “Naked Ambition,” a look at the porn industry’s annual AVN convention, in two theaters in Los Angeles.

(Dave McNary contributed to this report.)

More Film

  • Alicia Rodis photographed by Alicia Rodis

    SAG-AFTRA Moves to Standardize Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA is moving to standardize guidelines for intimacy coordinators as part of an effort to establish policies for union members when their work involves nudity and simulated sex. “Our goal is to normalize and promote the use of intimacy coordinators within our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Intimacy coordinators provide an important safety net for [...]

  • The Lion King

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Roars Overseas With Mighty $269 Million

    Disney’s “The Lion King” certainly felt the love this weekend, generating $269 million at the international box office. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the classic Disney cartoon now holds the eighth-biggest debut of all time overseas, even with China opening last weekend. Combined with a stellar $185 million start in North America, “The Lion King” [...]

  • Scarlett JohanssonMarvel Studios panel, Comic-Con International,

    Scarlett Johansson Reveals What We'll Learn About Black Widow in Stand-Alone Movie

    Scarlett Johansson can finally talk about her upcoming “Black Widow” movie. While she can’t divulge spoilers, she let out a big sigh of relief after the film was officially announced on Saturday during the Marvel Studios presentation at Comic-Con. “I feel like a weight has been lifted,” the Oscar nominee told Variety. “Black Widow” is [...]

  • The Lion King Box Office

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Rules With $185 Million Debut

    Simba and Mufasa reigned supreme this weekend as Disney’s “The Lion King” dominated box office charts. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the animated classic collected a massive $185 million from 4,756 North American theaters during its first three days of release. The movie landed the best domestic launch for a PG film and set a [...]

  • Creative-Producers-Indaba-Cover-Image-1920x1080-px-2

    Realness, EAVE, IFFR, Sundance Launch African Producers Network

    DURBAN–South Africa’s Realness Institute, EAVE, the Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Sundance Institute are joining forces to create the Creative Producers Indaba, a professional training program designed to support emerging African producers. Inspired by initiatives such as the EAVE Producers Workshop and Sundance’s Creative Producing, the program will bring together 15 participants to develop [...]

  • BOTM-Eve-Viper-Gang

    Director Angus Gibson: My Audience is ‘Young, Black South Africans’

    DURBAN–Sophiatown, 1958. On the outskirts of Johannesburg, as the apartheid police prepare to demolish the community at the heart of black South African cultural and intellectual life, a notorious gang leader is determined to make a last stand. Resisting the forced evictions that will transport the residents of Sophiatown to a desolate township miles away, [...]

  • marvel

    Marvel Phase 4 Plan Revealed, But Comic-Con’s Big Winner is Disney Plus

    In a triumphant return to the San Diego Comic-Con main stage, leadership at Marvel Studios managed some splashy surprises and showed off risky creative bets for the next two years of content coming from the superhero operation. But the biggest takeaway from the Saturday presentation inside Hall H was how important Marvel will make Disney [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content