Sunday, July 28, 2013

"The Wolverine" underwhelms, "The Conjuring" holds strong, "Fruitvale Station" impresses

Going into this weekend, the talk of the town was how Fox's The Wolverine would finally save the blockbuster season after a string of big-budget underperformers (Pacific Rim) and straight-up flops (R.I.P.D.). Variety had written a piece about how The Wolverine would open to around $75-$80 million. In last week's box office report, I predicted the film would open to $92 million. And reviews were very strong for the film, at 68% on Rotten Tomatoes. Then something happened that made the film just fall on its face. A lot of people are saying that The Wolverine's weekend box office was just a tad underwhelming. I think that it's a huge miss by Fox. While they certainly are building momentum for what is sure to be an event picture in next year's X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fox suffered a major misstep with The Wolverine. This is a film led by the most famous mutant in Fox's catalog, with a major star in Hugh Jackman, and Fox just screwed up. The Wolverine opened to $55 million this weekend, which is a solid start, but is nearly $30 million less than 2009's X-Men: Origins- Wolverine and the exact same total as 2011's X-Men: First Class, which was a prequel with no recognizable stars.

I think that Fox over-estimated how popular the character was. I saw little television marketing for the film beyond a TV spot and some Red Robin commercials. While the film received an "A-" Cinemascore, I have a feeling that this film will gross no higher than $140 million when all is said and done. It has pretty direct competition for two weeks. Plus, I haven't recommended the film to anyone as I believe that it is by far the worst film in the X-Men franchise (read my review here). I think that word-of-mouth might screw this one up, especially if 2 Guns and Elysium break out. Fox better cross their fingers that Days of Future Past is a hit, otherwise, they might just be better off selling the mutants back to Marvel. 

In second place was horror breakout The Conjuring (I still haven't seen the film, partially because I'm too scared to), with a fantastic 47% drop for a $22.1 million weekend. That brings the film up to a total gross of $83.8 million, which means that it will have no trouble flying to $120 million or higher. Warner Bros. and New Line really have something with this franchise. Despicable Me 2 continued its impressive run in third place with another $16 million. This weekend, the film crossed $300 million, a milestone that only five other animated films have managed to reach. Despicable Me 2 has grossed $306 million in the US so far. 

Turbo also managed to hold strong this weekend with a fourth place finish and $13.3 million. The $135 million budgeted animated film has grossed $55.7 million so far and despite a 37% drop this weekend, it will still struggle to reach $100 million. Grown Ups 2 held strong once again with a fifth place finish and another $11.5 million weekend. That's a solid 42% drop for the comedy that has now grossed $101 million. Red 2 also held strong in sixth place with a $9.4 million weekend. The action comedy has grossed $35 million so far. I don't think that we'll be seeing a Red 3 unless the international grosses are extremely strong. 

Pacific Rim continued to plummet at the box office as it finished in seventh place this weekend with another $7.5 million weekend and a 52% drop. The mega-budget film has grossed $84 million in the US. The Heat finished in eighth place this weekend with another $6.8 million. The comedy smash has now grossed $141 million. And rounding out the top ten, we had R.I.P.D. in ninth place with another $5.8 million for a $24 million total and Fruitvale Station in tenth with an impressive $4.6 million in wide release. 

Next week sees the release of 2 Guns and The Smurfs 2. Here are some early predictions for the box office:

1. 2 Guns- $42.2 million
2. The Wolverine- $27.4 million
3. The Smurfs 2- $25.3 million ($41.2 million 5-day)
4. The Conjuring- $13.4 million
5. Despicable Me 2- $10.7 million
6. Turbo- $8.1 million
7. Grown Ups 2- $6.9 million
8. Red 2- $6.1 million
9. Pacific Rim- $4.5 million
10. The Heat- $4.2 million


  1. So, a $140million earning on a $120million budget in 3 days, not to mention having only one marquee superhero of the franchise, is a disappointment these days huh? Weird...

    1. Yes, especially when you compare the performance of the movie to Avengers.

  2. The reason it possibly under performed was the last film. They took a great character, two if you cound deadpool (Ryan Reynolds character) and basically did nothing exciting with them, or if you were a comic fan, ruined the movie by retconning them needlessly or worse.

    They only had themselves to blame by refusing to wait for Bryan Singer to continue the Phoenix story line and handing it to the supremely untalented hands of Brett Ratner.