Weekend Box Office: ‘Wolverine’ Declawed

As ‘First Class’ showed, the ‘X-Men’ franchise still has a great deal of forward momentum. Unfortunately, this weekend’s box office returns suggest that Wolverine’s ‘Origins’ prequel damaged the character so much that American audiences may be getting over him.

Expected to earn $72.5 million, ‘The Wolverine‘ experienced a soft opening nearly $20 million short of its target. Its $55 million debut was $30 million behind ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘, but spot-on with 2011’s ‘X-Men: First Class‘. Considering that ‘The Wolverine’ had the advantage of 3D ticket prices, it should have opened higher than ‘First Class’. However, although it’s off to a less-than-expected start in North America, the movie had a fantastic start overseas. In Japan (where the movie is set), the film’s title was changed to ‘Wolverine: Samurai’ for added local appeal. ‘The Wolverine’ opened in the top spot in 100 countries and earned $86.1 million from foreign markets, giving it the best international debut for an ‘X-Men’ title to date. The $120 million movie has brought in $141.1 million worldwide.

The other four films in the Top 5 opened stronger than expected, even if only by several hundred thousand more. Second place went to ‘The Conjuring‘, which featured a much better second-week holdover than most R-rated horror flicks. Slipping only 47% in attendance, the $20 million production earned another $22.1 million. To date, it has pulled in $83.8 million, making it the highest-grossing horror film of 2013 so far.

After four weekends, ‘Despicable Me 2‘ is still going strong. In third place, it manged to earn another $16 million, pushing its domestic total past the $300 million mark and holding off its fourth place competition, week-old ‘Turbo‘. With only a 37.5% decline, the holdover for the DreamWorks’ animated snail movie may sound great, but that’s mostly because its debut numbers were pretty bad. The $13.3 million second weekend gives ‘Turbo’ a 12-day total of $55.7 million.

In fifth place this weekend was ‘Grown Ups 2‘. After three weeks, the Adam Sandler sequel conned audiences out of another $11.5 million. Its seventeenth day pushed the $80 million summer comedy past the $100 million mark. This makes ‘Grown Ups 2’ the fourteenth Sandler flick to gross more than $100 million domestically.

Even after expanding wide to 886 screens, the crowd-pleasing ‘ The Way, Way Back‘ still couldn’t crack the Top 10. Climbing up to the number 11 spot, Fox Searchlight’s indie comedy earned $3.3 million, bringing its cumulative total to $8.9 million.

The indie film that did climb into the Top 10 was the Weinstein Company’s ‘Fruitvale Station‘. Presumably fueled by real-life events regarding the trial following Trayvon Martin’s death (I’m staying neutral with this controversial case), after expanding wide to more than 1,000 screens, ‘Fruitvale Station’ rounded out the Top 10 with $4.6 million. To date, the film has earned $6.3 million.

Much like ‘The Wolverine’, Aubrey Plaza’s ‘The To Do List‘ opened softer than expected. On 591 screens, the CBS Films’ filthy comedy debuted in the #15 spot. Considering that the movie was shot on a tiny $1.5 million budget, ‘The To Do List’ isn’t at all a failure, but it needed to make $2 million for great success.

On just six screens, Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine‘ earned $613,000, for a per-screen average of $102,167, which is actually higher than Allen’s most successful recent film (‘Midnight in Paris‘).

Top 10:

1. ‘The Wolverine’ (Fox) – $55,000,000

2. ‘The Conjuring’ (Warner Bros.) – $22,130,000

3. ‘Despicable Me 2’ (Universal) – $16,024,000

4. ‘Turbo’ (Fox) – $13,325,000

5. ‘Grown Ups 2’ (Sony) – $11,500,000

6. ‘Red 2’ (Summit) – $9,400,000

7. ‘Pacific Rim’ (Warner Bros.) – $7,540,000

8. ‘The Heat’ (Fox) – $6,850,000

9. ‘R.I.P.D.’ (Universal) – $5,857,000

10. ‘Fruitvale Station’ (Weinstein) – $4,657,000

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