It's been called the 'Summer of Doom' by The Guardian and even Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have claimed that Hollywood is facing a 'huge meltdown'. Let's put it this way: the heady days of Summer 2012's record takings are a distant memory. 2013 is the year of one too many costly flops (looking at you, The Lone Ranger, After Earth, R.I.P.D.).
This week's victim: The Wolverine. It opened with $55M domestically in 3,924 theaters. Let's put that into context: X Men Origins: Wolverine, its direct precursor, opened to $85.1m in 2009. That's a 35% drop for the -starrer, and there's no glossing over that. Why did this happen? After all, The Wolverine got far better reviews than 2009's entry (66% on Rotten Tomatoes to Origin's 38%), and tracking projections had even gone up to $80m. But does anybody remember the Origins entry? It was a bone-fide stinker, and I don't doubt that a huge deal of audience goodwill for the franchise went away after that installment. Also, there's a glut of X-Men now on-screen...whether it's the Wolverine movies or the First Class prequel, it's relatively confusing, even more so when you consider that X-Men: Days Of Future Past will link the original cast with the First Class crew. Mind-frazzled. The wider X-Men franchise could probably do with some streamlining.
Some have pointed out that it earned $14,016 per screen on an estimated budget of $120 million, quite low for a Hollywood blockbuster, so it will recoup its cost. But any franchise that drops 35% from its previous installment on opening weekend surely can't be seen as a success. Regardless, we'll see how the film performs over the next few weekends before coming to a definitive verdict. The real saving grace here? Overseas business. It made $86.1M overseas, with Fox stating that the “global number is a huge $141.1m.” AND it's not even in Japan and China yet, and with Japan's large role in the film, box-office there looks set to be boffo. In short, The Wolverine is no Lone Ranger or After Earth, and that's thanks to international audiences.
Anyway, despite the hazy business of The Wolverine's domestic box-office, let's not call the curtains on the summer blockbuster circus quite yet. The Conjuring dropped a not-too-shabby 47% and looks set for a $120 finish, a great result for a horror movie, whilst two films hit big milestones. Grown Ups 2 surged past $100m, whilst Despicable Me 2 hit an astounding $300m.
How does everybody feel about these box office results? Surprised by the mixed performance of The Wolverine? Thrilled by the successes of Grown Ups 2 and Despicable Me 2? Jump in with your comments below!