X-Men Sizzles as Box Office Enjoys another $90m+ Opener
By John Hamann
May 25, 2014
The concern for Fox had to be front-loading. When X-Men: The Last Stand opened to $102.8 million over the three-day portion of the Memorial Day weekend in 2006, the Thursday preview was $5.9 million and the Friday number was $45.1 million, before dropping 29% on Saturday to $32 million. Fox would have been hoping for the Captain America trend (off only 6.1% on Saturday) but was more likely looking for the Godzilla trend, where the big green lizard dropped 16% on Saturday from the huge Friday. The result for X-Men: Days of Future Past was a Saturday number at $29.6 million, or a drop from Friday of 18%. This is an okay number, but did provide our first indication that there was a Friday fanboy rush. The weekend multiplier came in at 2.5, which is low considering that Sunday should have behaved like another weekend day due to the holiday Monday.
The weekend number for Days of Future Past came in at an awesome $90.7 million, pulling that amount from 3,996 venues, with many of those 3D screens, but fewer IMAX, because Godzilla is still roaring on those screens. Days of Future Past had a venue average of $22,698, and keeps the box office hot, hot, hot as the month of May wears on. This incarnation of X-Men becomes the fourth $90 million plus opener over a space of eight weekends, and given that only 37 films have opened to $90 million plus, to have four films do it over such a short period surely sets a record. It will happen again when the next Transformers comes out (although I won’t be celebrating that release – enough already).
As I said above, Fox has issued a master class in rebooting a franchise, by making good movies and not releasing them on top of each other. Days of Future Past is 91% fresh overall, but is 98% fresh from top critics, with 40 top critics coming in positive, and only one coming in negative. It pleased fans of the franchise by turning one of the most beloved story lines from the comics into a film, earning an A Cinemascore. They really couldn't have done anything better as the film approached its release date. Next up for X-Men is an even more popular comic storyline in X-Men: Apocalypse, a film I would show up for on opening day, and if good, will probably see twice that day.
Finishing second this weekend is Godzilla, last weekend’s $90 million plus opener (it happens all the time these days). The big green lizard knew it was going to get squeezed this weekend by the X-Men, as the humanoid mutants did more damage to Godzilla than the alien ones do in the film. Godzilla earned $8.8 million on Friday, and by all accounts was off 77% from the previous Friday. However, if we remove the $9.3 million Thursday figure, the true Friday for Godzilla was $29.1 million, which makes the Friday-to-Friday drop more like 69%. Using the Memorial Day weekend to its advantage, Godzilla was able to storm back somewhat, and finished the weekend with a 3-day total of $31.4 million, off 66% from its monstrous opening weekend of $93.2 million.