May 2016 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
May 5, 2016
2. X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27th)
From the other side of the Marvel universe (albeit not from the "official" Marvel Studios, as ardent fans know) comes what will most likely be the second biggest film of May, an entry in a franchise whose history is one of the odder of recent major film series, even by modern, reboot-happy, standards: Blade (1998) aside, the first X-Men (2000) was pretty much the first superhero film of the current era. A solid hit given the expectations of the time, it was followed by a successful sequel (X2, 2003), a somewhat underrated but widely critically-derided third film (The Last Stand, 2006), a spin-off, Wolverine, that remains the consensus pick for easily least liked entry in the series (2009), a prequel seen as having righted the ship (First Class, 2011), another Wolverine spin-off, real quality this time (2013), a time-travel film carefully merging and submerging realms of continuity (Days of Future Past, 2014), and finally, whatever you make of Deadpool (2016), which technically exists in the X-Men universe (although as far as I'm concerned, so does Legally Blonde).
What all these films (and their box office tallies) have suggested is a franchise that, between the maligned The Last Stand ($234 million) and lionized Days of Future Past ($233 million), has more or less reached its box office peak - except for, of course, when a few X-Men are shipped-off into supporting roles in Deadpool, a film that is currently busily outgrossing any X-Men motion picture of your choice (In a landslide!). On the other hand, people so liked the last two main X-Men films that there should be an uptick, still, even if the alluring time travel and cast-merge toppings of the previous film have been taken off the menu this time around. In fact, careful viewers will note that the X-Men timeline has actually been quietly rebooted, but it's an internal reboot, within continuity: because of the enterprising on-screen time travelers in Days of Future Past, the events of most of the early films have actually been changed (just like in 2009's Star Trek, when the film executive played by Eric Bana traveled back and cleverly altered everything from before Kirk captained the Enterprise, allowing a whole series to be created from the remains of the previous).
Leaving aside all this brain-numbing skulduggery, though, the focus in this entry is on the one-named Apocalypse, an ancient mutant who carries that very same motivation of most summer film villains (his moniker is not meant to be ironic), and who is played here by Star Wars' Oscar Isaac, commandeering his second big franchise. Facing him this time are First Class luminaries like James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender (who does these films in between R-rated indies), and the indefatigable Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult, among other now-familiar actors introduced to this iteration in 2011. Bryan Singer is back, here helming his fourth X-Men film, having directed the first two and the last one. This is all very good, and there's every reason to think X-Men: Apocalypse will be another solid, quality, sci-fi film, even if it's unlikely to break new ground in a month that already seems dominated by another superhero team.
Opening weekend: $115 million (4-day) / Total gross: $264 million