The Washington Post

‘X-Men: First Class’: A win at the box office, a minor defeat for mutant movies

James McAvoy, clearly using a mutant mind trick to drum up more box office business for "X-Men: First Class." (Murray Close/AP)

The lesson of the weekend box office, perhaps? “X-Men” movies make more money when Wolverine is in them.

X-Men: First Class” — the ’60s-era origin story that stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, but lacks the presence of Hugh Jackman’s manly sideburns and claws — easily won the weekend box office with $56 million. Still, that was the softest opening thus far for an “X-Men” sequel, which suggests that the franchise’s mass appeal may be weakening a tad. Either that, or the public still has a bad hangover from the “X Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” fiascos of 2006 and 2009, respectively

On the plus side, movie ticket sales were up again (by 27 percent) after a record Memorial Day weekend. A few movies marked revenue-generating milestones, and one of the most challenging films of the summer so far continues to draw audiences.

The weekend’s top five money-makers, and a poll that lets you predict next weekend’s winner, after the jump.

The Hangover Part II” lost more than 60 percent of its business but still landed in second place with $32.4 million, and $186.9 million overall. Add in foreign grosses, and you’ve got a worldwide total of $338.3 million, a figure that almost guarantees Mr. Chow will rise again in another sequel.

Crossing the $100 million mark over the weekend: “Kung Fu Panda 2,” which has now brought in $100.4 million (great!) on an estimated budget of $150 million (not as great), and “Bridesmaids,” which has earned $107 million and cost only an estimated $32.5 million.

Meanwhile, the amazingly resilient “Fast Five” crossed the $200 million finish line over the weekend, having now collected a total of $202.1 million in domestic revenue and a worldwide “wow, really?” tally of $568.5 million. At the moment, it stands as the top-grossing film of 2011, though that will presumably change once “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” arrives.

In another triumph for the high-minded, “The Tree of Life” continues to sell plenty of tickets. Though it’s still showing on only 20 screens around the country, it’s already earned $1.2 million. Not Vin Diesel money, but given the limited nature of its release, impressive.

Now, the top five films of the weekend (based on studio estimates), followed by a box office prediction poll that raises the question: Does “X-Men: First Class” have a chance against J.J. Abrams’s “Super 8”?

1. “X-Men: First Class” — $56 million

2. “The Hangover Part II” — $32.4 million

3. “Kung Fu Panda 2” — $24.3 million

4. “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” — $18 million

5. “Bridesmaids” — $12.1 million

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.


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