With baited Wolverine breath, the industry waited for the kick-off weekend of the summer-movie season amidst much anticipation as the X-Men franchise proves to be one of the most reliable and consistent at the box office. With a whopping $35 million on Friday, $29.7 million on Saturday and an estimated $22.2 million on Sunday, the $87 million opening proved that star Hugh Jackman’s appeal goes beyond his song and dance skills — and translates to major summertime superhero bucks.
Of course, last year’s comparable weekend provided a very tough comparison with the $98.6 million opening of Paramount’s awesome Iron Man. However, by the closest of margins we have our sixth consecutive “up” weekend with year-to-date revenues running 16.4 percent ahead of last year with an attendance at a 13.7 percent advantage.
At number two in a perfect counter-programming move is Warner Brothers’ romantic comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, which earned a solid $15.3 million in a similar situation to last year’s number-two film Made of Honor (Sony), which went head-to-head with Iron Man and earned $14.8 million. Shocking as it may seem, there is always a percentage of the populace that has no interest in the comic-book superhero genre and, thus, an opportunity to grab up a portion of that audience when a weekend like this presents itself.
At number three is last weekend’s highly profitable fatal romance drama Obsessed from Sony’s red-hot Screen Gems division with $12.2 million. The modestly budgeted film ($20 million production budget) is already at $47 million. Given the level of competition this weekend, this was a pretty impressive performance.
The Zac attack continues as Warner Brothers’ 17 Again earned another $6.35 million propelling its way to $50 million on domestic box-office. It proves that teen idolatry pays off in the movie business.
Rounding out the top five is Paramount’s Monsters Vs. Aliens, which scared up another $5.8 million and impressive domestic cumulative of $182.4 million.
Debuting way outside of the top 5 is Roadside Attraction’s 3-D animated Battle for Terra, which found itself on the tough end of a brutally competitive weekend with just $1 million in receipts.
Summer’s start continues the tradition of strong performances with the sixth “up” box-office weekend in a row, albeit by the slimmest of margins. In fact, if today’s estimates are on the high side. we could end up with a “down” weekend when the final numbers are tallied on Monday. Regardless, this was an incredibly strong weekend and a great way to start the summer movie season.
1. NEW! X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Fox) – $87M; 4099 theaters; $21,225 PTA
2. NEW! Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (Warner Bros.) – $15.3M; 3175 theaters; $4,827 PTA
3. Obsessed (Sony/Screen Gems) – $12.2M; 2514 theaters; $4,853 PTA; -57%; $47M cume
4. 17 Again (Warner Bros.) – $6.3M; 3255 theaters; $1,952 PTA; -45%; $48.4M cume
5. Monsters vs. Aliens (Paramount) – $5.8M; 2626 theaters; $2,209 PTA; -32%; $182.4M cume
6. The Soloist (Paramount) – $5.6M; 2033 theaters; $2,755 PTA; -42%; $18.1M cume
7. Earth (Disney) – $4.1M; 1804 theaters; $2,319 PTA; -53%; $21.8M cume
8. Fighting (Universal) – $4.1M; 2312 theaters; $1,805 PTA; -62%; $17.5M cume
9. Hannah Montana: The Movie (Disney) – $4M; 2819 theaters; $1,446 PTA; -37%; $70.8M cume
10. State of Play (Universal) – $3.6M; 2445 theaters; $1,495 PTA; -47%; $30.8M cume