Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
June 6, 2011
Kim Hollis: X-Men: First Class opened to $55.1 million, the second lowest opening weekend total in the history of the franchise, and by far the worst performer in terms of tickets sold during the first three days. We knew this was a prequel/reboot. Is this a good enough result?
Brett Beach: The result is fair to slightly better than expected. In my mind this doesn't qualify as a reboot, if only because the X-Men brand name - as I see it - wasn't damaged to the extent that Joel Schumacher and Akiva Goldsman managed to inflict upon the public with Batman & Robin. (Last Stand was underwhelming but not terrible and Wolverine was simply an emotional downer with a ridiculous amount of violence and action leading to the only possible pre-ordained ending it could.)
It does seem to be partially a matter of economics - get in a cast of relatively inexpensive performers to help keep the cost under $200 million this time around and go back to a beginning while figuring out how to push the series forward in the future with the characters from the first trilogy. (I have read interviews with Fox execs that they are committed to this trilogy and new sequels for the first trilogy and maybe more standalone movies, and…it makes my head swim). I am glad for the mostly positive reviews, but I still can't past the horrible punning in the title even if it is the name of the comic series. Plus, while it may be bold to set the action in the midst of recorded history, it also seems cheesy on some level to me. I think this will perform just as POTC:OST is and wind up the lowest grossing domestically of the five X-Men films, but perform solidly overseas.
Bruce Hall: I think it is a good enough result. Most of the talk today is focused on the dollar result and that's undeniably important. But $55 million is about in line with studio projections, and I think this is a rather rare moment of prescience on the part of 20th Century Fox. For all the talk of genre fatigue (and I feel it too), the superhero flick isn't going to go away for a little while. So while profitability is the goal, what's equally important is that this is the best reviewed X-Men film since 2003's X2. X-Men has been a perennial cash cow and although there's no sense in killing it off now, one more awful film and this franchise might have died all by itself. It's not a blockbuster result but the long view is that the X-Men still have a few good years left.
Tom Houseman: Brett, I think you're letting your own opinions cloud your perception. I loved The Last Stand, but that doesn't change the fact that it was reviled by the public. Wolverine was even more hated, and justifiably, as it was an awful movie in every respect. The X-Men brand definitely took a major hit from those two movies.
I am surprised that this movie didn't do better, but I probably shouldn't have been, considering the only name in the cast is Mr. Tumnus (are people not as excited about the guy from Fish Tank as I am?). There was a lot of anticipation for this movie among fans, but I think it had to overcome a lot of the negativity towards the last two films in the series.
The number is higher than Batman Begins' $48.7 million opening, and that movie more than quadrupled its opening weekend because it had great word-of-mouth. I think something similar will happen here. My sister has already seen First Class twice and is gushing about it. I think this movie will have very impressive legs, especially if Super 8 underperforms. I wouldn't be surprised by a $250 million total domestically.