It’ll be a dark and mysterious day, probably marked by the rise of demon overlord Cthulu himself, that a Marvel film doesn’t hit the number 1 spot upon release.
Fortunately, today is not that day as THE WOLVERINE – Hugh Jackman’s sixth installment as the mutton-chopped, ragey mutant anti-hero extraordinaire – has clawed (snark) itself a $55 million weekend gross.
‘Underwhelming’ may be the most apt word to describe the film’s initial performance, however, as Hollywood is obscene and treats money like how mere mortals treat dust balls. Falling 35% short of the much-maligned (to put it gently) X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, and coming roughly on par with X-MEN FIRST CLASS ($55.1 million), it marks a continuing decline for the mutants. Or maybe not so much a decline as a ‘failure to improve.’
Because if you aren’t moving up in business, you may as well not bother trying.
The damage to THE WOLVERINE’s weekend opening was arguably set in stone by ORIGINS before it and the immense damage to the brand it caused. Despite the marketing’s best efforts, good reviews and a strong CinemaScore of A-; it was facing tough odds out of the blocks. Word-of-mouth is the way to go now, but with a release slap in the middle of a congested summer heaving with event-movie action (while ORIGINS took advantage of a quiet early May release), THE WOLVERINE will have a fair fight on its hands over the next few weeks.
There are no other new releases in the Top 10 this week, with number 2 going to THE CONJURING, which posted a remarkable hold of $22.1 million in its second week, just 47% down on last week. Horror films often trail off appallingly (ref: THE PURGE fell 76% in its second week) and THE CONJURING’s performance is testament to the power of word-of-mouth. $100 million will easily be within its grasp by next weekend and it should finish north of $120 million.
In its fourth week, DESPICABLE ME 2 continued to perform strongly – dropping 36% to $16 million for third – while TURBO continued to suffer from the torrent of animated movies this summer, sitting in fourth with $13.3 million in its sophomore week. With SMURFS 2 right around the corner, it’s unlikely to get any easier for DreamWorks’ latest.
Closing out the Top 5 stands Adam Sandler’s latest vehicle GROWN UPS 2, picking up $11.5 million to take it over $100 million gross. That’s Adam Sandler’s 15th (!) film to do so, more than Tom Cruise (14) and Will Smith (13). Wut?
RED 2 also fell one place for sixth, falling 48% for $9.4 million. After 10 days of release, the geriatric sequel has grossed $35.1 million, making it likely to fall well short of its predecessor’s $90.4 million domestic gross.
It was a case of bad-to-worse for PACIFIC RIM this week, too. A poor opening was hoped to be alleviated by strong word-of-mouth but… not so much. The film plummeted a further 53% this week, pulling in $7.5 million, for a gross of $84 million and a likely stopping point just beyond $100 million.
That still hasn’t stopped the sequel gravy train from rolling, however. Ladies and gentleman, behold the pulling power of Guillermo del Toro.
US Domestic Top 10
1. The Wolverine
2. The Conjuring
3. Despicable Me 2
5. Grown Ups 2
6. RED 2
7. Pacific Rim
8. The Heat
10. Fruitvale Station
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