X-Men Sizzles as Box Office Enjoys another $90m+ Opener
By John Hamann
May 25, 2014
The star-studded cast of X-Men stormed into summer frame #4 at the box office this weekend, on the heels of a humongous Godzilla at $93.2 million, an amazing $92 million opening for Spider-Man 2, and leader of the current pack, Captain America: The Winter Solider, at $95 million. X-Men: Days of Future Past debuted with more than $90 million over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the Memorial Day weekend, and becomes the fourth film to do so over an eight-week period.
Sony should takes notes this weekend, as 20th Century Fox, Bryan Singer and the X-Men demonstrate perfectly how to reboot a comic series franchise. Spider-Man this is not. Following the out-of-hand good X-Men: First Class, where Fox and the franchise took a risk and introduced about a dozen new faces to its canon at a cost of $160 million, that investment pays off this weekend, as X-Men: Days of Future Past explodes at the box office over the Memorial Day frame. The reboot may have faced a loss for 20th Century Fox, as it earned $353 million worldwide against that monstrous $160 million budget, as it likely needed at least $400 million to be in the black. What it did do was make some great casting decisions, specifically Michael Fassbender in the Magneto role, and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.
Since First Class, Fassbender made Shame, Prometheus and 12 Years a Slave. Lawrence made a little film called The Hunger Games and its sequel, won an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook and was nominated for the $100 million plus winner American Hustle. Days of Future Past brings a great predecessor to the table, maybe one of the best casts ever assembled, is 91% fresh, and opens on Memorial Day Weekend – how did you think it was going to do?
X-Men: Days of Future Past got started on Thursday night with a bang, earning a powerful $8.1 million. Why is that a strong number when Godzilla did $9.3 million and Spider-Man 2 did $8.7 million? Because Days of Future Past didn’t start on Thursday until 10 p.m., compared to Godzilla's 7 p.m. start, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2's debut at 8 p.m.. Both Godzilla and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had the benefit of two screenings on Thursday night, whereas X-Men only had one. Additionally, the latest incarnation of Wolverine had a Thursday preview of $4 million – also starting at 10 p.m. – and earned $53.1 million over its opening weekend. The Friday number (with Thursday previews included) came in at $36 million, right in the neighborhood of Godzilla ($38.4 million), Spider-Man 2 ($35.2 million) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($36.9 million). Knowing that both Godzilla and Spidey 2 had higher Thursdays, and that X-Men was going to have a solid Sunday given the long weekend, corks would have been popping at Fox, as the writing for a huge debut was on the wall. It took the previous X-Men movie until Saturday night to earn the same amount as this one did on Friday, as it finished Saturday with $41.1 million.