No surprise here, X-Men: Days of Future Past was the clear winner this weekend. What is a bit more surprising is the number attached to that win, which was not as close to $100 million as projected. The all-star mutant sequel took in an estimated $90.7 million from 3,996 locations through Sunday and is now expected to top $100 million after tomorrow’s Memorial Day holiday.
|1.||X-Men: Days of Future Past||$90,700,000||$90.7|
|6.||Million Dollar Arm||$7,093,000||$20.6|
|7.||The Other Woman||$3,675,000||$77.7|
|10.||Heaven is for Real||$1,950,000||$85.7|
Full story after the jump.
If you’ve been paying attention to box office projections over the last few weeks, you know that X-Men: Days of Future Past was expected to challenge Captain America: The Winter Soldier to become 2014’s biggest opener with over $95 million. After Thursday previews came in at $8.1 million, however, expectations were scaled back to $93 million for the three-day frame – behind last week’s Godzilla debut but ahead of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Instead, estimates put Days of Future Past under $91 million, or the fourth-highest debut of the year. To be clear, that is an incredible number (especially when measured against recent entries in the X-Men series); still, fourth place is… fourth place.
Though it couldn’t overtake more recent releases, X-Men: Days of Future Past has secured the second-highest opening in the fifteen year history of the X-Men franchise. After suffering two of its lowest-performing entries in recent years (The Wolverine and First Class), the return of the original X-cast (and director Bryan Singer) has allowed the seventh feature to return the X-Men series to its former glory.
In terms of opening weekends for the franchise, Days of Future Past is second only to 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. The final film in the original trilogy was also released on Memorial Day weekend, and earned a giant $122.8 million over the four-day holiday frame. That still ranks as the third-highest Memorial Day opening of all-time, despite the fact that fans do not hold The Last Stand in high esteem. Even with eight years of ticket price inflation (including the advent of 3D locations) Days of Future Past could not overtake its 2006 predecessor. Still, considering that today’s estimate improved on 2011’s First Class by more than 65%, I’d say that Fox is happy with the outcome.
Here’s a look at how the first six films in the series performed, not adjusted for inflation.
|2006||X-Men: The Last Stand||$102.7||$234.3|
|2003||X2: X-Men United||$85.5||$214.9|
|2009||X-Men Origins: Wolverine||$85||$179.8|
|2011||X-Men: First Class||$55||$146.4|
Though it may not hit the four-day total of $110 million that Fox projected, Days of Future Past should still claim its spot in the top five Memorial Day openings of all time (besting the $103 million of 2011’s The Hangover Part II). And, even if the chance to overtake The Last Stand’s opening record has vanished, the sequel could still beat that film’s domestic and worldwide totals. So far, Days of Future Past is a hit with both general audiences, who gave the film an ‘A’ CinemaScore, and critics (91% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). The film brought in over $171 million from international theatres this weekend, which puts its global cume over $261 million after only three days. With a good hold against Maleficent next weekend (First Class declined by 56% in its sophomore frame), the sequel should be able to surpass The Last Stand to become the most successful X-Men feature to date.
After its monster debut last weekend, a good hold was not in the cards for Godzilla. The disaster pic was down an estimated 66% in its sophomore frame, a drop that far exceeds the -59% of the notorious 1998 version. On the plus side, the most recent Godzilla started off with a much bigger opening frame than its forbear and its drop, though steep, was not unexpected. In 2008, Cloverfield was down 68% on its second weekend in theatres.
It may be hard to tell from the top ten chart, but there were actually two new releases this Memorial Day weekend. The counter-programming option came in the form of Blended, a romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. For a time, it looked like Blended would not even make it to third place with its debut, but it seems enough people were interested in seeing the stars of The Wedding Singer reunite to allow the film to edge out Neighbors, which passed the $100 million mark in its third weekend of wide release. Based on Sandler’s box office record, Blended was expected to earn at least $20 million in its first three days (even Jack and Jill managed to hit $25 million back in 2011). Instead, the comedy (currently ranked at 15% on Rotten Tomatoes) came closer to Sandler’s That’s My Boy, which opened with just $13.4 million back in June of 2012.
Overall, this Memorial Day weekend was down by almost 28% over 2013, when Fast & Furious 6 led with $97 million. 2014 will have a good chance to reverse that trend next weekend, however, courtesy of Maleficent and A Million Ways to Die in the West. The Disney feature is expected to open in first place with around $60 million, but predicting where the Seth MacFarlane feature will wind up is a little trickier. Given the fate of most Westerns, a debut of $25 million seems about right; then again, no one expected Ted to open above $30 million in 2012 and it came close to doubling that. Let us know where you think A Million Ways to Die in the West will wind up in the comments section.