X-Men: Days of Future Past has earned $90.7 million on its first weekend of release, with a projected Memorial Day four-day debut of $108m. That total that includes $8.1m worth of Thursday previews. That’s a lower opening than the 2006 debut of X-Men: The Last Stand, which earned $102m Fri-Sun and $124m Fri-Mon over its Memorial Day debut. Heck, adjusted for inflation, it’s a smaller Fri-Sun debut than X2: X-Men United ($85m back in 2003) about on par with X-Men Origins: Wolverine ($85m in 2009) and X-Men ($54m in 2000, which would be about $80m today without any 3D bump). The question becomes exactly how 20th Century Fox viewed this seventh X-Men picture. Was it merely intended to improve upon the box office fortunes of the last three installments, or was the “franchise all-stars to the rescue” super-sequel meant to shoot the 14-year old X-Men franchise to towering new box office heights? If it’s the former, then the picture will certainly be a success. But in terms of relative comparisons to the X-Men franchise as a whole, it’s coming up somewhat short. X-Men may no longer be a god among insects in America. I add that caveat because it also earned $171m overseas this weekend. So going into Monday, the film has already earned $261m worldwide.
The film’s $90 million weekend is the fourth biggest of the year, behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95m), Godzilla ($93m) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($91m). The good news is that the film played a little better than X-Men: The Last Stand over the long weekend. X-Men 3 opened with a $45m opening day (the second biggest on record) and then went on to earn $102m Fri-Sun (about $125m today not accounting for 3D) and $124m Fri-Sun (about $151m today), for a 2.7x four-day multiplier and an awful 2.2x Fri-Sun multiplier. This time around, X-Men: Days of Future Past earned $36m on opening day (the third-biggest of the year) for a 2.9x Fri-Mon multiplier and a solid 2.5x Fri-Sun multiplier. It’s also the sixth-biggest Fri-Mon Memorial Day opener ever, behind Fast & Furious 6 ($117), X-Men: The Last Stand ($124m), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($126m), and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($153m, which included $13m worth of Thursday previews).
X-Men: Days of Future Past, which brings back Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, and Ian McKellen for a time-travel story that also involves James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and (the now red-hot) Jennifer Lawrence, was supposed to scale new heights for the franchise or merely stem the relative bleeding domestically. If Fox was looking for a Fast Five-type breakout success, it will have to happen overseas. Memorial Day weekend openers generally have terrible legs over their domestic theatrical run. X-Men: The Last Stand earned just 1.88x its four-day figure overall, ending its domestic run with $235 million. Most Memorial Day openers aren’t much better, with X-Men: The Last Stand, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Hangover part II, Fast & Furious 6, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (the top five Memorial Day openers of all time prior to this weekend) doing around 1.85x-2.2x their 4 or 5 day debut figures.
It would seem at this juncture that the absolute best-case scenario is that X-Men: Days of Future Past ends its domestic total with $247m domestic (2.3x). That’s a solid figure, but it’s also below the $285m adjusted-for-inflation domestic totals of X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. Like the Spider-Man reboot, it could be that the X-Men franchise, which was once one of the towering giants of the comic book superhero sub-genre, is now just another too-expensive fantasy property. The absolute nightmare scenario, and I’m not outright saying this is how it’s going to go, is that X-Men: Days of Future Past performs exactly like X-Men: The Last Stand from here on out and ends its domestic run with $200m. It”s doing about average for the franchise in America, although it’s clearly breaking out overseas. Again, if this were the first entry in a franchise, this would count as a win regardless of how it plays out.
But Fox was arguably expecting that the return of Bryan Singer and the returning of the old cast members would cause X-Men: Days of Future Past to play like a proverbial X-Men 4, with the inflated budget to match. Like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, with great budgets come great expectations. I don’t want to be too negative in case it performs like, for example, Fast Five, which earned $200m here and over $600m worldwide. The overseas marketplace has changed since 2006. It already earned $171m overseas in 100 markets, the vast majority of markets in which it will be playing. Considering that The Wolverine holds the record for overseas totals for a X-Men film at $282m, it would appear that at least a foreign record will be broken for an X-Men film. It should have close to $300m worldwide by tomorrow ($261m by today, plus whatever it makes worldwide tomorrow). So does this mean that the domestic total is irrelevant? Maybe, but that remains to be seen.
The other major release was a somewhat shocking whiff. Warner Bros. (a division of Time Warner TWX +1.01%) dropped the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore romantic comedy Blended as a form of counter-programming, but everyone who didn’t see X-Men went to see Warner Bros.’ Godzilla or Universal’s Neighbors instead. Blended opened with just $14.45 million, outright terrible for a mainstream Adam Sandler comedy. The film will theoretically cross $18m by Monday. The good news is that it cost just $45m to produce, meaning $50m here and $50m overseas will put the film in eventual break-even form.
1. (-) X-Men: Days of Future Past - $90,700,000
2. (1) Godzilla - $31,425,000
3. (-) Blended - $14,245,000
4. (2) Bad Neighbours - $13,946,000
5. (3) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - $7,800,000
6. (4) Million Dollar Arm - $7,093,000
7. (5) The Other Woman - $3,675,000
8. (7) Rio 2 - $2,500,000
9. (15) Chef -$2,260,000
10. (6) Heaven is for Real - $1,950,000
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