When X-Men: First Class came out in 2011, it opened to $55 Million. People thought it was because X-Men Origins: Wolverine was so reviled. But people liked First Class (for the most part) so that doesn’t explain why The Wolverine opened to less ticket sales.

Film Weekend Per Screen Total
1 The Wolverine $55,000,000 $14,016 $55,000,000
2 The Conjuring $22,130,000 (-47.1) $7,323 $83,867,000
3 Despicable Me 2 $16,024,000 (-35.7) $4,610 $306,413,000
4 Turbo $13,325,000 (-37.5) $3,498 $55,768,000
5 Grown Ups 2 $11,500,000 (-42.1)
$3,530 $101,664,000
6 Red 2 $9,400,000 (-47.9) $3,117 $35,074,000
7 Pacific Rim $7,540,000 (-52.9) $2,898 $84,026,000
8 The Heat $6,850,000 (-26.4) $2,873 $141,245,000
9 R.I.P.D. $5,857,000 (-53.9) $2,055 $24,352,000
10 Fruitvale Station $4,657,000 (+529.8) $4,377 $6,339,000

Where X-Men: First Class was neither in 3D or on real Imax screens, The Wolverine was. I thought I was low-balling the picture with a $65 weekend total, but audiences weren’t as pumped to see Logan’s solo adventures as they were in 2009, when the first Wolverine spin-off opened to $85 Million. The new one did do $86 Million overseas, so there’s some hope it will make money.

But domestically, it’s going to make $100 Million and maybe a little more but that’s about it. What happened? A couple things.

  • It opened too late: By the end of summer, audiences are generally exhausted from all the noise-box adventure films. X-Men Origins: Wolverine opened the summer, did $85 Million, and is generally considered a terrible film. The Wolverine is modestly liked and closed out July, but by following Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel and World War Z, etc. etc. the audience is slightly less excited.
  • Marketing: Is it just me, or did most of the ads for this film look terrible? I think the problem is that Wolverine losing his powers isn’t a very interesting hook because we know he’s going to get them back, and we can tell that by the trailer, which emphasize that he’s lost some powers, but then we see him fighting at fullish strength for the rest of trailer. So there’s no hook, except Japan, which is going to be appealing to some audiences, but also a turn off to others.
  • Character Exhaustion: Hugh Jackman has been a leading character in five X-Men films. We get it. He does the thing with the stuff. Snikt. Whatever.
  • Low Profile: Considering the competition, Fox didn’t go crazy with the film. Perhaps because this was more reasonably budgeted than Man of Steel. Fox didn’t go for the full court press, they didn’t go crazy with tie-in marketing, etc, they didn’t treat it like a huge summer event film. And the results are this.

But there are other movies and some good news. The Conjuring is on track to make over $100 Million, and audiences seem to really like it. Despicable Me 2 has just cleared $300 Million, which makes it one of 45 films to do so (though it’s among the 39 films to do so since 2000). Grown Ups 2 just cleared the $100 Million dollar mark and could play long, and get to $150 Million, much like The Heat, which is closing in on that number. And Pacific Rim should just get over $100 Million domestic.

Both Turbo and R.I.P.D. are dying and/or dead. The live action Ryan Reynolds film will be off screens before the cartoon version, though. And in limited release, Fruitvale Station, The Way, Way Back, and Blue Jasmine are doing good arthouse business. The To Do List is not making much of a dent, but it was cheap.

Reality Check: I was off by $10 Million on The Wolverine. But at the time I thought I might be going a little low.

What did you watch this weekend?