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Box Office: ‘Logan’ Slicing and Dicing Toward Year’s Biggest Debut

Logan” will slash its way to the biggest opening weekend of 2017, sending star Hugh Jackman off in style as he prepares to hang up his claws. The R-rated comic book adaptation is expected to cut into more than $70 million when it debuts across 4,071 locations. Fox, the studio behind the superhero adventure, is being more conservative and predicting an opening in the mid-$60 million range.

Logan” follows a battle-weary Wolverine as he hides out with an aged Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart). The adamantium warrior is brought out of seclusion when he gets enlisted to protect a young mutant. “Logan” cost $97 million to produce, on the lower end of most superhero movies.

No slicing and dicing is spared. Like “Deadpool” before it, “Logan” is banking on there being enough adult fanboys and fangirls out there to draw big crowds. Barring that, the filmmakers are hoping there are a lot of permissive parents. Comic book movies usually carry a PG-13 rating, so they can bring in teenagers and preadolescents. Early attempts to ratchet up the splatter, such as “The Punisher,” “The Watchmen,” and “Kick-Ass,” met with only marginal success. However, “Deadpool,” the four-letter festooned tale of a costumed vigilante, managed to make nearly $800 million globally, despite its high body count and creative use of profanity.

“Logan” is already a hot seller heading into the weekend. Fandango reports that “Logan” is outpacing all X-Men ensemble movies and all previous Wolverine spinoffs. The film boasts sterling reviews, plus Jackman has very publicly stated that this marks his last turn as the grizzled antihero after a 17-year run.

It won’t be all Wolverine at the multiplexes. Blumhouse and Universal’s “Get Outtopped box office charts last weekend with more than $33 million, and has continued to do solid business this week. The thriller about a black man who discovers all is not right with his girlfriend’s white suburban hometown has earned critical raves — were it not for Armond White, it would carry an 100% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “Get Out” should make another $20 million in its sophomore weekend, and will likely finish its run with $100 million domestically. Not bad for a film that cost less than $5 million to make.

Lionsgate will release “The Shack,” a faith-based film about a man whose beliefs are thrown into question after a family tragedy. It’s looking at an opening of between $10 million to $12 million, in line with films that catered to similar audiences, such as “God’s Not Dead” and “When the Game Stands Tall.” Octavia Spencer and Sam Worthington star in the picture, which is leaning heavily on word-of-mouth screenings for influencers, pastors, and bishops, as well as promotions on Christian Broadcasting Network and Trinity Broadcasting Network. It will debut across roughly 2,800 locations and cost roughly $20 million to produce.

Open Road and Awesomeness Films’ “Before I Fall” is eyeing a $5 million bow. The movie sounds like a tween version of “Groundhog Day” — it follows a high-schooler (Zoey Deutch) who discovers she may be living her last day alive in a perpetual loop until she gets it right. It cost $5 million to make.

Fresh off of its surprise best picture win, “Moonlight” will expand to roughly 1,500 theaters. The coming-of-age drama is already available on home entertainment platforms. It has made nearly $23 million domestically, a handsome return on its $1.5 million budget.

Even if “Logan” scores the top debut of the still-young year, it won’t hold onto the honor for long. Disney’s live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” hits theaters on March 17, when it is projected to open to as much as $120 million.

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