Weekend Box Office: 'Logan' Sinks Claws Into Huge $85.3M Debut

Weekend Box Office: 'Logan' Sinks Claws Into Huge $85.3M Debut

Director James Mangold's Logan howled loudly at the North American box office this weekend with a $85.3 million debut from 4,071 theaters, the biggest opening of the year so far and one of the top showings of all time for an R-rated film.

It is also one of the best numbers for the month of March. Nostalgia, glowing reviews and an A- CinemaScore are no doubt aiding the 20th Century Film superhero movie, which marks Hugh Jackman's final turn on the big screen as the moody and fierce X-Men superhero, Wolverine. (That's according to the actor himself.)

Read more: 'Logan' Premiere: Hugh Jackman Thanks Fans for 17 Years as Wolverine

And Logan's edgy rating is another victory for 20th Century Fox in proving that R-rated superhero films can have sharp claws following the blockbuster success of last year's Deadpool. Logan, the final title in the Wolverine trilogy, got the widest release ever for an R-rated title in North America.

Before Logan came along, the top opening of 2017 belonged to The Lego Batman Movie ($83 million). Among other stats: Logan narrowly unseated Fifty Shades of Grey ($85.2 million) to score fifth-biggest opening for an R-rated film behind Deadpool ($132.4 million), The Matrix Reloaded ($91.8 million), American Sniper ($89.3 million) and The Hangover sequel ($85.9 million), not accounting for inflation. And it nabbed the fourth-biggest March debut behind Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166 million), The Hunger Games ($152.5 million) and Alice in Wonderland ($116.1 million).

Logan is opening simultaneously in numerous foreign markets this weekend, including China, and could post an international bow in the $75 million-$100 million range.

This time out, the story follows the adventure that ensues when Logan, who is caring for an ailing Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), encounters a mysterious young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) in need of their help. Stewart has said it could be the final time he plays Xavier.

Read more: 'Logan' Screenwriter on Its Villain Surprise and Crafting a Powerful Ending

Other highlights of the weekend included The Shack, a faith-based film starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer. The Lionsgate film debuted to $16.1 million from 2,888 theaters, the best showing for a Christian-leaning movie since Heaven is for Real ($22.5 million) almost three years ago. While critics derided the $26 million film, audiences bestowed The Shack with an A CinemaScore.

The Shack, exceeding expectations, placed No. 3 behind Logan and Universal/Blumhouse holdover Get Out, which grossed $26.1 million in its second weekend for an impressive domestic total of $75.9 million. Get Out, the race-conscious horror film directed by Jordan Peele, fell just 26 percent, a scant decline for a horror title.

The frame's third new film, YA adaptation Before I Fall, opened in sixth place with $4.9 million from 2,346 locations. The micro-budgeted film cost less than $5 million to make, and is the first title from Awesomeness Films. Open Road Films is handling distribution duties.

The Shack gave Lionsgate its third film in the top 10 after holdovers John Wick: Chapter Two and La La Land, which scored a number of top Oscars last weekend despite ultimately losing the best picture race to Moonlight in a surprise upset, and following the biggest blunder in Academy Award history that saw La La Land mistakenly named the winner before Moonlight was declared the true victor.

Read more: ‘The Shack’: Film Review

La La Land placed No. 10 in its 13th weekend with $3 million from 1,411 theaters for a domestic total of $145 million. Overseas, Damien Chazelle's musical danced past the $250 million for a global total of $395 million.

Director Barry Jenkins' Moonlight enjoyed a big post-Oscar boost in theaters even though it is already available on home entertainment. From A24, the arthouse movie earned $2.5 million - its biggest weekend to date - for a domestic total of $25.4 million. The movie is playing in 1,564 theaters, its widest footprint since opening in limited theaters in late October.

A24 says Moonlight has also climbed to the top of the charts on various VOD platforms. That includes iTunes, where it ranks No. 4. And theatrically, is on the verge of becoming the widely respected distributor's top-grossing title to date (as of now, it is tied with Ex Machina).

Read more: Oscars: Mahershala Ali Wins Best Supporting Actor for 'Moonlight'