×

‘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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 4127_D015_00199_RC(l-r) Laura Carmichael stars as Lady

    Box Office: 'Downton Abbey' Beats 'Ad Astra,' 'Rambo: Last Blood' on Thursday Night

    “Downton Abbey,” the movie continuation of the hit TV series centering on the Crawley family, has won Thursday previews with $2.1 million from 2,800 North American locations. Meanwhile, Brad Pitt’s space drama “Ad Astra” has launched with $1.5 million in previews, while Sylvester Stallone’s action-thriller “Rambo: Last Blood” scooped up $1.3 million at nearly 2,900 [...]

  • Renee Zellweger'Judy' film premiere, Arrivals, Samuel

    'Judy's' L.A. Premiere: Renee Zellweger Takes Another Ruby Step Toward the Oscars

    Renée Zellweger continues to follow the yellow brick road to the Oscars. The Los Angeles premiere of Judy on Thursday night in Beverly Hills kept the Academy Award winner on track for a possible second win come February. “We’re just so happy we’re able to share it with you tonight,” Zellweger said to the crowd [...]

  • Benedict Andrews (L) and US actress

    Kristen Stewart on the 'Insane Gall' of Directors as 'Seberg' Arrives in San Sebastian

    SAN SEBASTIAN – On Friday, Kristen Stewart and Benedict Andrews’ political thriller “Seberg” plays at the 67th San Sebastian Film Festival, where it opens Perlak, a section dedicated to the Spanish premieres of major international films. The star and her director addressed the media prior to the screening in the festival’s first high-profile press conference, [...]

  • Les Miserables

    Ladj Ly's Cannes Prize-Winner 'Les Miserables' Is France's Oscar Submission

    Ladj Ly’s politically charged drama “Les Miserables,” which won the Jury Prize at Cannes, has been chosen by France’s Oscar committee to enter the international feature film race. In one of the most competitive years for French movies, “Les Miserables” beat out Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” the 18th-century-set romance which won [...]

  • David Kehrl neuer Head of Acquisitions

    'Resident Evil's' Constantin Names Acquisitions, International Co-Production Chief

    David Kehrl is to join Constantin Film, Germany’s leading independent movie producer and distributor, as the head of acquisitions and international co-production. He will report to Martin Moszkowicz, chairman of the executive board at Constantin Film, which produces the “Resident Evil” movies. Starting in February, Kehrl will be responsible for the acquisition of international theatrical [...]

  • The Plague Season 2 Spanish TV

    Telefonica, Atresmedia to Create Content Factory Behemoth

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — In a game-changing move for Spanish-language production Telefonica, Europe’s third biggest telco, and Atresmedia, the original co-creators of “La Casa de Papel,” are uniting to create a new joint contents production giant. Aimed at gaining more scale and uniting talent relations – writers, directors and producers – the 50/50 joint venture will [...]

  • KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Finally Has

    KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Finally Has a Name: Leonine

    The KKR-backed German media company formed through the merger of Tele München Group, Universum Film, i&u TV, and Wiedemann & Berg Film finally has a name: Leonine. The company revealed its moniker Friday, saying that “Leonine” met its criteria of being associated with its home region of Bavaria and Munich, in southern Germany, and of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content