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WOLVERINE Claws Box Office

Prequel takes home $87 million for first.

By Jarrod Sarafin     May 03, 2009

Liev Schrieber and Hugh Jackman throw down in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (slideshow)
© Mania


After a tumultuous build up to the launching of their latest comic adaptation, the executives over at 20th Century Fox must be breathing a sigh of relief today. The studio was the first in line to kick off this year’s summer blockbuster season with X-Men Origins: Wolverine and with the weekend estimates in the bag, they’re looking at positive performance to the tune of $85.1 million across the nation. Those kind of numbers on 4,099 theaters translate to an audience average of $21,225 per showing.
Did the much-talked about leak affect the film’s box office performance?
It likely did but not by much. While there’s no concrete way to be sure of how much cash was lost here, the illegal downloads probably shaved only $5-10 million off its opening weekend performance. And that’s probably damage control that Fox can deal with as long as the film met their tracking expectations, which was $80 million or higher.
In comparison to previous launches, “Wolverine” is the second highest launch in their X-Men brand behind the debut of X-Men: The Last Stand. The 2006 film opened up on Memorial Day weekend with $102.7 million and would go on to gross $459.3 million worldwide. It also falls just $13 million shy of last summer’s first blockbuster, Iron Man. The Jon Favreau-directed comic adaptation rolled into 4,105 theaters last May with an opening performance of $98.6 million.
The film is also the eleventh highest opening weekend tally all-time for May.
While the foreign grosses won’t be officially tallied until tonight or tomorrow morning, early word is leaking out that X-Men Origins: Wolverine pulled in nearly $73.0 million in its foreign markets across the globe. When combined with the domestic tally, Fox has a worldwide gross of $158 million after only three days of theatrical release.
Very respectable numbers for Fox executives, who were dealing with a lot of stress factors going into this weekend’s launch.
You can check out our review of the latest X-Men film here.
Warner Bros. and New Line also found success with their alternative choice-focused romantic comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. The latest Matthew McConaughey vehicle debuted on 3,175 theaters this weekend and found $15.3 million for those audiences who weren’t interested in watching comic heroes & villains battle it out on the big screen.
Third place goes to last weekend’s champion Obsessed. With the film grabbing another $12.2 million, the Screen Gems marketing geniuses have already doubled their $20 million budget after only ten days of theatrical release, with a domestic tally of $47.0 million.
Despite a terrible weekend average of only $1,952, Warner Bros. is likely also pleased with the overall performance of their comedy 17 Again. The Zac Efron-Matthew Perry team effort pulled in another $6.3 million for 4th place to increase its domestic total to $48.4 million.
Paramount and DreamWorks are officially in the plus category this week with their 3-D adventure Monsters vs. Aliens taking 5th place. After this weekend’s $5.8 million performance, the studio has finally overcome its sizeable $175 million budget. As of this report, it has a domestic gross of $182.4 million. And with the film’s foreign gross coming in at $143.0 mil, the studios have found $325.4 million worldwide.
The two former distribution partners also found the 6th place spot with their dramatic fare The Soloist taking in another $5.6 million in its second weekend of release. After ten days of release, the Jamie Fox-Robert Downey Jr. film has $18.1 million to its name.
Walt Disney follows in 7th place with their documentary Earth pulling in another $4.1 million in its second weekend. With this weekend’s numbers in, the film has a domestic gross of $21.8 million.
Rogue Pictures found themselves dropping 62% with their action drama Fighting. The Tatum fight film pulled in another $4.1 million on 2,312 theaters across the nation, which comes up to an average of $1,805 per showing for audiences. After two weekends, it has $17.5 million in box office receipts.
Hanna Montana The Movie has officially become the highest Live-Action TV Kids Show adaptation for Walt Disney this past week by grabbing another $4.0 million over the weekend for the 9th place spot. With this week’s numbers officially in, it has increased its domestic tally to $70.8 million. This has the film $5 million over the previous champion Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour, which finished its theatrical run with $65.2 million.  
And the 10th place spot for this report goes to Universal Pictures’ adaptation of State of Play. The film, based on the BBC teleplay, pulled in another $3.6 million in its third weekend of release. At the moment, it has domestic gross of $30.8 million.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
$85.1 mil
$85.1 mil
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
$15.3 mil
$15.3 mil
$12.2 mil
$47.0 mil
17 Again
$6.3 mil
$48.4 mil
Monsters vs. Aliens
$5.8 mil
$182.4 mil
The Soloist
$5.6 mil
$18.1 mil
$4.1 mil
$21.8 mil
$4.1 mil
$17.5 mil
Hanna Montana The Movie
$4.0 mil
$70.8 mil
State of Play
$3.6 mil
$30.8 mil

I finished last weekend’s report with a question on your predictions for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. With the leaked print fiasco, did you think it could beat Iron Man’s debut with a theatrical launch of 4,099?
Most of you were spot on by saying “No” and some of you were very close to guessing the end result of $85.1 million.
Maniacs Hobbs and davenet were just above the mark by predicting $90 million debuts:
“I have not seen the early leak edition either, I want to see it on the big screen. It will be interesting to see if in fact that will hurt the numbers. I'm on the side that says those pirate movies don't hurt it overall as much as Hollywood says it does.  This will be proof as it takes 90-100 mil opening weekend.”
“Well let's put it this way if Fast And Furious can make $70 Million in it's first weekend then I'm not worried about Wolverine making any less than that.  Last few weekends releases have been driven by teens with Hannah Montana and 17 Again so there's an appetite for a genre action movie again.  Will it break Iron Man's record this weekend I don't think so.  Look for at least a $90 Million opening weekend with a big drop off in its second week.”
But if you want to approach this like The Price is Right and see who was closest without going over the retail price, the bragging rights goes to killerville taking the best answer while westend posted the second best guess.
“Wolverine 84.3 mil.”
“I think Origins takes $84.6 mil. Leak doesnt keep it from being a smash, but DOES however keep it from beating Ironman.”
Very nice predictions fellow Maniacs!
With one summer blockbuster debut officially in the box office bag, it’s time for Paramount to launch their latest Star Trek feature into theaters next weekend. The early theatrical launch estimates have it coming in at 3,500 theaters but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s increased to 4,000 prints by Friday.
Friday May 8, 2009 Releases:
Star Trek (3,500)
Next Day Air (1,000)
Love N Dancing
Little Ashes
Powder Blue
Rudo Y Cursi


Showing items 1 - 10 of 41
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hanso 5/3/2009 3:00:55 PM

I guess that ends the piracy hurts box office myth.

Damn you Fox, damn you to the depths of hell!

wessmith1966 5/3/2009 3:10:40 PM

 I called $85 million for Wolverine. I saw it Friday and was very underwhelmed by the movie. I think the best review I saw said that "I never saw a movie try so hard to be mediocre." For me, that was the movie in a nutshell.    SPOILER ALERT.......I will say that I didn't think Prof. X's appearance looked as bad as everyone said........END SPOILER. Lots of cameos, but paralleling Wolverine's comic book origin, a mish-mash of stories that just don't fit all that well together. Jackman was on target again with his playing of our favorite canucklehead, and I liked Liev's portrayal of Creed. But, in typical Fox fashion when it comes to Marvel properties (X3 and the FF movies) the movie's just a cash cow and not a movie that makes you say "wow" when the credits roll. I really hope Fox stops making X-Men and FF movies so the rights can revert back to Marvel. Still, after all is said and done, Wolverine was a decent summer popcorn movie. Congrats to Fox for milking the cow yet again.

It's funny, because I also saw the Ghosts of Girlfriends movie and I have the same feelings about it as I do Wolverine. It was one big cliche with enough laughs and heart to be enjoyable but completely forgettable five minutes after walking out of the theater. My girlfriend, who loves romantic comedies even thought the same as I do. I judge all romantic comedies again Love Actually (the best of the genre in my opinion). If I grade Love Actually as an A , Ghosts comes in at a solid C.

Star Trek...Counting down the days until Friday's first showing! After everything I've read and seen, I think this movie's going to be great and jumpstart the franchise. Yes, it's going to piss off a lot of Trekkies, but you can't have everything...where would you put it all.

evilbeagle 5/3/2009 3:12:55 PM

I've been out of the mania loop for awhile, but the numbers sound good for Wolverine.  Not only was the movie having to overcome the leak--but they also had to overcome a poor connected film in X3.  Piracy doesn't keep the public away from theaters....Shitty movies and high prices keep the public away from the theaters.

I haven't seen Wolverine yet.  I'm a die hard fan, but the trailers weren't doing much for me.  A couple trusted friends have told me it's in the same ballpark as Incredible Hulk--fun action movie--a notch above mediocre on the whole.  One friend even said he enjoyed watching it more than The Dark Knight--even though he conceded that Dark Knight was an overall better movie--just not as much FUN.

Fun sounds good to me...

Hobbs 5/3/2009 3:34:59 PM

I always feel like I've made the big times when I'm listed in one of Jarrods articles...

Like you said, there is no way to know for sure how much Pirate copies hurt it overall but I think 5-10 mil is steep. I would guess closer to 1-2 mil.  I think more was probably lost out in Mexico with the swine flu stuff going on. 

Some years back I got an advance copy of the M. Night movie Signs a week before it came out in theaters and I thought that movie was/is the biggest piece of crap film out there and I'm glad I didn't fork over my 10 bucks for it but the thing went on to make over 200 mil anyways.  Plus there were all those leaked copies of Attack of the Clones and that still went on to make 300 mil....that's when I had made up my mind pirate copies don't do anything to the domestic take.

evilbagle, that's a good analogy of Wolverine.  It was fun and in line with the Incredible Hulk.  Like so many others I do think it could have been better but I thought they did the best they could with the PG-13 rating.  Will hanso's take of it dropping 70% hold true?  I think there is a good chance of that if Star Trek is everything its supposed to be. 

sithtemple 5/3/2009 5:08:20 PM

 I saw an advance screening of Star Trek and it was awesome. I also saw Wolverine and while I usually enjoy a action film with no story, Wolverine was boring, and forgettable. I will go see Star Trek this weekend. I can understand why Wolverine made so much with the marketing put into that movie I am not surprised. It also goes to further my own theory that the more a studio markets a movie the worse the movie. I saw an average of 4 advertisements to every one of Star Trek over the past week. I also have to agree that pirated copies does not hurt the profitability of a film but high prices, and crappy movies hurt the profitability of a movie. 

Hanso I hope your prediction is correct. I totally agreed with you last summer with the TDK. 70 percent would justified as well. 

redhairs99 5/3/2009 5:20:51 PM

I have yet to see any proof that piracy hurts box office business.  If that were the case we certainly wouldn't be seeing films like Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Spider-Man making the kind of dough they have made.

It seems to me that with Wolverine, it is more successful with the non-comic book crowd.  Women, in particular, seem to have a higher opinion of the film than most I've talked to anyway. 

I'm not sure what Star Trek will do next week.  My guess is that it will be the biggest Star Trek film of all-time.  Though, Star Trek films generally don't fare too well at the box office.  I just think that this film will have the mass appeal of Lost and Cloverfield just because of JJ Abrams.  It still will probably be a terrible film, but I see it doing well.

Still, like it or hate it, Transformers 2 will be the biggest box office smash of the year, of that I'm quite sure.

myklspader 5/3/2009 5:27:21 PM

 This is unfortunately going to convince Fox that they should make more shitty X-Men movies (though I do like the first two installments) and other comic book properties too. I agree with Hanso's damning them to Hell. 

I skipped over Wolverine (and likely will even in DVD releasing too) and finally caught “State of Play” which really was a good movie overall in case anyone wants to see it and i. For once there was a political suspense movie of quality and was worth the ticket price… that is rare in my opinion. I was thinking about the whole lack of wanting to see Wolverine and my over all lack of enthusiasm for the other big blockbusters coming too comes down to last year with “The Dark Knight” and how can anyone top that? What I mean to say is that I left for the first time in a long time from the theater feeling really satisfied as a movie-goer watching the film (and I mean that even after you strip away all the “hype” some people claim is the only real reason why it did so well). Anyone else feeling the same thing?  

redhairs99 5/3/2009 5:34:17 PM

Star Trek will probably debut to the tune of $80 million, but it'll probably top out somehwere between $150 and $200 million.  These films seem to rarely do the kind of business that most of us expect.  $150 is probably on the high side of total box office, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt because of JJ Abrams.

almostunbiased 5/3/2009 5:48:39 PM

Good opening.  Bring on Wolvie in Japan.  (I'm sure it would have done better except for the swine flu, JK)

Looking forward to Star Trek next weekend.

hanso 5/3/2009 6:01:03 PM

I hear ya myklspader! 

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