Weekend Report: 'Wolverine' Bleeds, But Still Easily Leads
by Ray Subers
July 28, 2013
The Wolverine easily took first place this weekend, though its opening weekend was a far cry from the last few X-Men movies featuring Hugh Jackman as the immortal hero. Meanwhile, The Conjuring had a fantastic hold for a horror movie, while Fruitvale Station did good business in its nationwide expansion.
Overall, the Top 12 earned $158 million, which is up 25 percent from last year. While overall box office in July 2013 won't set a new record, it is on track to become the second-highest-grossing month ever with a little under $1.35 billion.
At 3,924 locations, The Wolverine clawed its way to $53.1 million. That's off 35 percent from the widely-maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and it's very likely that movie's poor reception negatively impacted this new outing. The Wolverine was also lower than X-Men: First Class ($55.1 million), and the original X-Men movie ($54.5 million), which makes this the worst start yet for the 13-year-old franchise.
This underwhelming opening can first-and-foremost be attributed to the reputation of X-Men Origins: Wolverine; while it does have a fine IMDb rating (6.7), the general consensus does seem to be that the movie was painfully bad. Fox recognized this, and spent a solid amount of their marketing and publicity trying to convince audience that this go-around was a major improvement. And word is that it was—the movie is fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and received a good "A-" CinemaScore—but for opening weekend, at least, the damage was already done.
It also didn't help that The Wolverine looked like a smaller, more contained movie, which kept it from reaching "event movie" status. Finally, the July release date plays a role as well: X-Men Origins: Wolverine had no competition on the first weekend of May, while The Wolverine had to fight with lots of other options this weekend.
The good news is that The Wolverine's long-term prospects are fine. Using other late July releases as a guideline, the movie should leverage its solid word-of-mouth in to a final total around $140 million. Add in great overseas grosses (see the Around-the-World Roundup below for details) and The Wolverine will ultimately be a minor win for Fox. The Wolverine's audience was 58 percent male, and 58 percent were 25 years of age or older. In comparison, X-Men Origins: Wolverine's crowd was only 53 percent male, and also skewed a bit younger (52 percent were 25 and up).
Fox did not reported a 3D share for the movie. Out of the five 3D movies released so far in July, the studios have only formally reported a 3D share for one of them (Pacific Rim), which is the latest sign that the times are changing for 3D.
In second place, The Conjuring dropped 47 percent to $22.2 million. That's a great hold for a horror movie—typically, they drop at least 50 percent in their second outing, if not much more (for example, The Purge fell 76 percent). Chalk this up to very strong word-of-mouth for director James Wan's supernatural horror hit, which is already the highest-grossing horror movie of 2013 with $83.95 million. By next weekend, the movie will have earned over $100 million, and should eventually make it past $120 million.
In its fourth weekend, Despicable Me 2 eased 34 percent to $16.4 million. On Saturday, it became the sixth animated movie ever to reach $300 million, and is the first since Toy Story 3 in 2010. DreamWorks Animation's Turbo also dipped a light 36 percent to $13.7 million this weekend. Unfortunately, it has only grossed $56.2 million so far, and faces tough competition from The Smurfs 2 beginning on Wednesday. Grown Ups 2 fell 42 percent to $11.6 million. On Sunday, it's expected to pass $100 million, which makes it the 14th Adam Sandler movie to reach that milestone. In comparison, Tom Cruise has 15 $100 million movies, while Will Smith has 13. Red 2 dropped 48 percent to $9.3 million this weekend. Through 10 days, the action sequel has grossed $35 million, and it's on pace to wind up well below its predecessor's $90.4 million.
After Pacific Rim's disappointing debut, there was hope that the movie would leverage good word-of-mouth in to long-term success. After its third weekend, it's clear that's not going to be the case: the movie plummeted 52 percent this weekend to $7.7 million. To date, it's earned $84.2 million, and is on track to ultimately close just over $100 million. Fruitvale Station expanded in to 1,064 locations and took 10th place with $4.59 million. That's a very strong expansion for the drama, and suggests that word is getting out across the country about this Sundance hit. Assuming the movie isn't weirdly front-loaded, it should be in line for a very successful run (at least $20 million). The Way, Way Back also expanded this weekend. The coming-of-age comedy grossed $3.45 million from 886 locations, which translated in to a slightly lower per-theater average than Fruitvale Station. That's a fine tally, though it's not really indicative of long-term potential given how much Fox Searchlight has been marketing it. To date, The Way, Way Back has earned $9.1 million.
Opening at 591 locations, The To-Do List earned just $1.58 million. That's disappointing considering the movie has received a solid marketing and publicity push; it is receiving good word-of-mouth, though ultimately it's going to be tough for it to break out during a crowded August.
Writer-director Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine opened to an estimated $612,064 at just six locations this weekend. That translate to $102,011 per-theater, which is an all-time best for Allen ahead of 2011's Midnight in Paris ($99,834). Still, Allen's movies always play well in New York and Los Angeles, and it remains to be seen whether it will get any mainstream traction. Around-the-World Roundup
While it missed the mark at the domestic box office, The Wolverine scored with $86.5 million in 100 countries this weekend. According to distributor 20th Century Fox International, that's over 13 percent stronger than X-Men: The Last Stand, which closed with $225 million.
The movie's biggest market was Russia with $10.5 million, followed by France ($7.4 million), the U.K. ($7.1 million), Brazil ($6.5 million), Mexico ($6.3 million), Australia ($5.6 million) and South Korea ($5 million). It was less impressive (but still fine) in Germany ($3.3 million) and Spain ($2.8 million). It's worth noting that it doesn't open in Japan until September; considering the movie is set there and has a largely Japanese cast, there's a good chance it's going to do disproportionately well there. Fast & Furious 6 finally reached China, where it took first place with an excellent $24 million this weekend. That helped push the movie past $500 million overseas; on a worldwide basis, Fast & Furious 6 ranks second in 2013 with $741.1 million. Despicable Me 2 added $24.5 million from 50 markets this weekend. To date, it's earned $354.5 million overseas and $661 million worldwide, and still has a handful of territories (including Russia) left to open. Fast & Furious 6 and Despicable Me 2 now combine for over $1.4 billion worldwide, and are on track to wind up around $1.6 billion. Combined, that makes this a very successful Summer for Universal Pictures (even if they do have to take a huge loss with R.I.P.D.).
While it has so far failed to garner much attention overseas, White House Down earned a surprising $18.5 million in China this week. To date, it's now grossed $45.6 million. Monsters University added $15.6 million from 46 markets this weekend, which represents 86 percent of its international potential. It's now earned $321.6 million, which makes it the eighth Pixar movie to pass $300 million overseas. The movie still has Italy and China coming up next month, and could ultimately wind up over $400 million. Pacific Rim fell 59 percent to $14.3 million for a new total of $140 million. The movie expands in to China on Wednesday and Spain, Japan and Brazil on August 9th.
Finally, Turbo added $12.2 million from 29 markets for an early total of $42.8 million. The movie has yet to open in most major markets.