Next weekend, Twenty-First Century Fox takes a try at box office glory with X-Men Days of Future Past. Can it outperform Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which so far ranks as 2014's top comic book movie?
Fox spent too much on X-Men: Days of Future Past. A minimum $250 million production budget means the film will have to put up unprecedented numbers for an X-Men movie. That's unlikely given Fox's strategy. Specifically, the studio is bringing all the X-Men together in one film in hopes that fans will show up to see a favorite character.
Walt Disney didn't take that chance, preferring instead to win over fans one character at a time. That way, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor fans would be willing to see a team-up movie featuring characters they otherwise might not care about. The result? Marvel Studios has enjoyed accelerating grosses in the solo movies that followed the Avengers, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Where as X-Men: Days of Future Past benefits from a 14-year cinematic history dating back to the release of X-Men in 2000. That movie produced more than $296 million in worldwide grosses on a $75 million production budget, a financial win for Fox even without counting DVD sales.
Several of the characters in the follow-up movie, X-2: X-Men United, appear in X-Men: Days of Future Past, providing the sort of connective tissue that made Marvel's The Avengers the box office success it was. Mix in outstanding reviews and a month's worth of weaker box office competition and you've all the ingredients required to top Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the box office.
X-Men: Days of Future Past also kicks off a whole new series of films that will add variety and heft to a franchise that's due for at least two more team-up movies and potential solo spinoffs. Fox investors stand to benefit greatly if this phase starts out well.
Personally my vote goes for the bacon.