‘Wolverine’ Whimpers Weak $55M Domestic Weekend But Roars Big $141.1M Worldwide
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SUNDAY 8:30 AM, 4TH UPDATE (worldwide #s below): More disappointment at the domestic box office even though it’s the biggest international opening for an X-Men film ever. Hugh Jackman. The Wolverine. ‘A-’ CinemaScore. No fresh competition. What better is there to say? Twentieth Century Fox seemed as if it couldn’t go wrong with this domestic weekend’s #1 tentpole. Or could it? Fox says this 6th X-Men opened with only $55M for its domestic weekend in 3,924 theaters (3,063 in 3D). That’s way less than the $85.1M which 2009′s X-Men Origin: Wolverine made in its debut. But the older pic opened the first week of summer while this installment is releasing in the crowded 2013 midsummer where in the past 5 weeks no live-action movie has opened over $45M. “We didn’t expect this, either. But there have been times before when audience fatigue from the summer sets in,” a Fox exec explained to me. Important to note that, internationally, The Wolverine as expected killed – i.e. did very very well - for $86.1M. “Global number is a huge $141.1m,” Fox said this morning. Pic on 15,152 screens was in #1 in all but one of the 101 countries releasing day and date including all major markets except Japan and China. The 3D version generated 50% of the box office total. Film will continue to roll out in August in another 25 countries, with Japan on September 13.
Studio has breathing room because of that and claim The Wolverine‘s cost is under $120M after Australian tax credits even though pic is set in modern-day Japan. And Fox has a $32.3M partnership campaign and $11.3M above the line media advertising with 11 national partners including DirecTV, Adidas, Audi, Coors Light, Movietickets.com, Red Robin, Amazon, Kroger/Sprite, Aaron Bros., Visa. In North America, The Wolverine made $21.0M Friday and $18.4M Saturday after that strong $4M from Thursday late shows beginning at 10 PM. But Fox throughout Friday began downsizing The Wolverine weekend. ”It’s an odd one because off the late shows Thursday and probably into mid-day yesterday we thought we were headed to $65M or thereabouts – and it just kept slipping downward as the day wore on into the evening,” a Fox exec told me. Rival majors Friday night estimated an even lower $53M-$56M - and they were right: “Softer than many people thought it might be,” as a rival exec told me.
It’s a shame to see Jackman’s version of the Marvel Wolverine played out in the U.S./Canada even though international performed well. (Hugh obviously loves the role a lot.) Big question I have is whether it confused audiences to have X-Men reboots releasing alongside standalone Wolverine pics. In 2009, X-Men Origins: Wolverine did well despite being leaked online and receiving 38% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes vs 68% for this new one. The Wolverine is directed by James Mangold, scripted by credited screenwriters Mark Bomback and Scott Frank, and produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Hutch Parker, and Jackman’s ex-partner John Palermo.