Hollywood's summer tentpole strategy continued to suffer in North America with the muted debut of The Wolverine, but the X-Men spin-off more than made up for it overseas.
The 20th Century Fox pic opened to $55 million domestically and roughly $86.1 million internationally for a worldwide total of $141.1 million -- easily covering the film's $120 million production budget. Internationally, it posted the strongest opening ever for an X-Men title.
Wolverine certainly isn't a dud in North America and still claimed the No. 1 position, but came in at least $10 million behind expectations.
It follows several all-out bombs, including R.I.P.D., White House Down, The Lone Ranger and After Earth, leaving Hollywood studios questioning the sanity of rolling out so many event pics in one summer. Unlike Wolverine, those films haven't been saved by a strong international performance.
Wolverine was directed by James Mangold, with Hugh Jackman returning in the title role (the two worked together previously on the 2001 romantic adventure Kate & Leopold). The film opens four years after X-Men spinoff X-Men Origins: Wolverine played in theaters, opening to $85.1 million in early May and grossing $373.1 million worldwide.
Fox is hoping that the movie's long-term outcome should be boosted by strong reviews and a strong A- CinemaScore; X-Men Origins was roundly bashed by critics.
Set sometime after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan (Jackman) has renounced his superhero powers and is living as a recluse in the Yukon. However, he's drawn back into the world when a Japanese man he once saved requests to become immortal. He also asks that Logan protect his granddaughter.
New Line's low-budget horror offering The Conjuring dropped a slim 47 percent in its second weekend, grossing $22.1 million to come in No. 2 and pushing its North American total to $83.9 million.
Universal's Despicable Me 2 continued to rule the family market, grossing $16 million in its fourth weekend to best newer offering Turbo, which declined 37 percent in its second weekend to $13.2 million for a domestic total of $55.8 million.
Despicable 2 also raced past the $300 million mark in North America, ending Sunday with a total $306.4 million, the second best showing of the year after Iron Man 3. It's worldwide gross is $660.9 million.
R.I.P.D., from Universal, tumbled 54 percent in its second weekend to come in a dismal No. 9 with $5.9 million. The movie's domestic total through Sunday is a scant $24.4 million.
Wolverine may have been the only new major release this weekend, but there was a flurry of activity at the specialty box office, including the stellar launch of Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.
The film, headlining Cate Blanchett, grossed $612,767 from six theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $102,128 -- the best since The Master in September 2012 and ahead of the $99,834 opening location average of Allen's box-office hit Midnight in Paris. Sony Pictures Classics, Allen's longtime distribution partner, is releasing Blue Jasmine in the U.S.
Two high-profile specialty films expanded nationwide this weekend: Fruitvale Station and coming-of-age dramedy The Way, Way Back.
Fruitvale Station, from The Weinstein Co., placed No. 10, grossing $4.7 million from 1,030 theaters for a location average of $4,377 and cume of $6.3 million. Ryan Coogler's critically acclaimed film prospering in both art house and African-American theaters, recounts the real-life shooting of an unarmed young black man by a BART police officer in Oakland. The film, which should end the weekend with a domestic cume of $6.3 million, has drawn numerous parallels to the Trayvon Martin case
Fox Searchlight's The Way, Way Back, starring Steve Carell, Toni Colette and Sam Rockwell, placed No. 11 with $3.3 million from 886 theaters for a total of $8.9 million. The film, directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who wrote the script for The Descendants, posted a location average of $3,724.
Among other new specialty offerings, CBS Films' raunchy comedy The To Do List, starring Aubrey Plaza, opened to an estimated $1.5 million from 591 theaters, a softer-than-expected start.