As the first movie installment not to include the “X-Men” title, Fox’s “The Wolverine” — the most known of the X-Men mutants — doesn’t appear to need the Marvel name, as the film is expected to gross a whopping $75 million-$80 million domestic debut.
Fox also is giving “The Wolverine” a huge day-and-date blowout, launching the film in 62 markets, including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, South Korea and the U.K.
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The pic’s projected $70 million-plus domestic opening could rival some of the franchise’s best previous debuts, including 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” another star vehicle for the Hugh Jackman-portrayed mutant, which earned $85 million during its debut frame. That pic, however, benefited from having the enviable first weekend in May release date.
“X-Men: The Last Stand” currently has the best opening for the franchise, with $102 million earned during Memorial Day weekend 2006.
From a broader perspective, “The Wolverine” will help keep the summer box office ahead of last year, as this same weekend in 2012 saw soft low-teens openings from “The Watch” and “Step Up Revolution.”
“The Wolverine,” which relocates the clawed immortal to Japan where he faces a deadly battle, is the only wide release this weekend. That’s especially notable since the market place has been so overcrowded of late.
So far, “The Wolverine” has garnered mostly positive reviews, with a 64% rating from critics on RottenTomatoes.
The first “X-Men” opened with $54 million more than a decade ago and went on to earn more than $157 million domestically. In 2011, Fox re-booted the franchise with “X-Men: First Class,” which debuted to $54 million and grossed nearly $150 million Stateside.