Logan Goes Out WIth a Box Office Bang - Get Out Holds Despite Wolverine
By John Hamann
March 5, 2017
Wow - you can tell February is behind us, as it's an unexpectedly large box office weekend for Wolverine, as our retiring hero claws his way into the record books.
Ask yourself this: Would Logan still have broken out if Get Out hadn’t dominated the box office last weekend? The very hot Get Out has a similar audience and is a movie that people love to talk about. Add to that the hoopla around Jackman’s retirement from the character and strong marketing, and awareness was out of this world heading into the weekend.
Logan reigned, but there were other openers at the box office this weekend, and a strong follow up weekend for last weekend’s breakout, Get Out. First the openers: Fox took Logan out to a very wide 4,071 venues, as they looked to get as many eyeballs on Wolverine prior to Kong: Skull Island opening next weekend. Also opening is Before I Fall, a Groundhog Day type film set in high school with Zoey Deutch, with a day repeating over and over (that’s what I remember high school actually being like).Lionsgate tries to keep its hot hand going with The Shack, a man meets god fable with Octavia Spencer and Sam Worthington. Would the faith-based crowd attend despite the almost universal bad reviews?
After one of the bleakest Februarys in a while, Logan opened for previews on Thursday, March 2nd, and if I was a betting man, I would say Wolverine kicked off what will likely be the biggest moviegoing March since… well, last March, which saw both Zootopia and Batman v Superman debut, and collectively those two films alone started with $243 million. This year, along with Logan, March openers will include Kong: Skull Island, Beauty and the Beast, CHIPs, Power Rangers, LIfe (with Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal), and Ghost in the Shell; however, that last one opens on March 31st. There are some very big titles coming down, and with Get Out and Logan getting people into theaters, that in-house marketing takes effect, and the box office could start to roll.
Logan’s Thursday preview amount came in at larger than expected $9.5 million, an excellent number for a cold Thursday night in early March. The Thursday was better than X-Men: Apocalypse ($8.2 million Thursday) and Dr. Strange ($9.4 million), two similar films that opened to $65 million (X-Men) and $85 million (Strange). The last Wolverine film could only manage $4 million on Thursday night; however, when Wolverine opened in 2013, previews were still previews. Wolverine didn’t open until 10 p.m., whereas Logan got started at 7 p.m.. Logan hadn’t even been in release for an entire day, and Fox’s weekend estimate of $60 million was looking like it was going to throw way under the actual.
I am not surprised Logan got out of the gate in such a hurry - Wolverine is the most popular X-Men character, and carries his own fanbase. Hugh Jackman is one of the big reasons why the X-Men franchise (I don’t count Deadpool) has earned $1.45 billion domestically and $3.6 billion worldwide from eight films. One question remained: How front-loaded would Logan be?