Box Office: Hugh Jackman’s ‘Logan’ Rips Toward Monster $74 Million Opening

Hugh Jackman’s “Logan” looks to tally as much as $74 million during its opening weekend in North America, early estimates showed Friday.

Fox’s R-rated fantasy-actioner looked to wind up Friday — which would include a powerful $9.5 million in Thursday night previews — with around $28 million at 4,071 sites.

One estimate placed “Logan” in the $80 million range for the weekend. Earlier this week, Fox has been predicting an opening in the mid-$60 million range. Either way, it should top the $53 million launch for “Lego Batman,” the biggest debut of 2017 so far.

“Logan” follows a battle-weary Wolverine hiding out with Patrick Stewart’s Professor X in rural Texas, where they’re tasked with protecting mysterious young mutant, played by Dafne Keen. “Logan” cost $97 million to produce, and is the widest domestic opening ever for an R-rated film.

Critics are showing “Logan” plenty of affection with a sterling 94% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes since its Feb. 17 premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

Jackman declared that “Logan” is his final turn as Wolverine — the powerful mutant character who says little and relies on adamantium claws. He first portrayed Wolverine in the first “X-Men” movie in 2000.

The film, directed by James Mangold, is also launching in many major international markets including China, the U.K., Germany, Australia and South Korea.

The second weekend of Blumhouse-Universal’s horror-thriller “Get Out” should lead the rest of the pack in the $19 million range at 2,869 locations after opening last weekend with a surprisingly strong $33.3 million. Directed by Jordan Peele and starring Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out” will wind up the weekend with $69 million in its first 10 days.

Lionsgate’s “The Shack,” a faith-based film about a man whose beliefs are thrown into question after a family tragedy, is heading for about $17 million — well above forecasts that were in the $10 million to $12 million range at 2,888 locations. Octavia Spencer and Sam Worthington star in “The Shack,” which has employed word-of-mouth screenings for influencers, pastors, and bishops, as well as promotions on Christian Broadcasting Network and Trinity Broadcasting Network.

“The Shack” should wind up being profitable, given its $20 million budget.

Prospects are modest for Open Road’s drama “Before I Fall” with forecasts of a $3 million launch at 2,346 sites. Zoey Deutch stars as a high-schooler who discovers she may be living her last day alive in a perpetual loop. Reviewers have been supportive with a 71% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Fox Searchlight’s wedding comedy “Table 19,” starring Anna Kendrick, was heading for a quiet launch of $1.7 million at 868 locations.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst, said that “Logan” is going to lead to a strong March for the movie business. “Kong: Skull Island” opens March 10 and Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” launches the following week on March 17.

“A 5% year over year deficit is about to get a huge chunk sliced out of it by Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine in ‘Logan,’ a film that has set social media ablaze with an absolutely perfect, edgy and exciting marketing campaign featuring one of the best trailers for a superhero movie ever,” he said. ” The intensity and pathos of this very complex and compelling character pushes far beyond the restraints of a PG-13 rating and the result will be the biggest debut of the year so far and a real shot at one of the biggest March debuts for an R-rated film ever.”

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