“THE WOLVERINE” still has bite — but like the latest iteration of the Marvel superhero himself, the franchise now looks mortal.

Hugh Jackman’s adamantium claws carved up $55-million in its domestic debut to top the box office, according to studio estimates Sunday — roughly $10-million less than Fox’s earlier projections. Final numbers are expected Monday.

If that number holds, it will be the second-lowest domestic opening in the X-Men franchise, ahead of only 2000’s “X-Men,” which debuted to $54.47-million (not adjusted for inflation) at nearly a thousand less locations.

“The Wolverine” showed steely resolve overseas, though, flexing a $86.1-million global total in more than 60 markets — and allowing the X-Men character film’s total gross to already exceed its production budget of $120-million.

Among smaller releases, the Weinstein Co’s “Fruitvale Station” grossed an excellent $4.7-million; CBS Films’ “The To-Do List” grossed $1.5-million; and Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” averaged a year’s-best $102,128 at six theaters.


CLAWS AND THE MAN: Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine in the Japan-set "The Wolverine." (Ben Rothstein / TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX/via AP)


* Fox’s six X-Men character films have nearly passed the $1-billion mark in cumulative domestic gross.

* Despite muted fan and critical reaction, 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” opened domestically to $85-million.

* “The Wolverine” is Jackman’s fourth-biggest opening ever; his biggest opening was 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” ($102.8-million), and his top five biggest debuts have been from the X-Men franchise.

* “The Wolverine”is the cheapest of the past four X-Men films — with a production budget of $110-million. Sly Fox, that.

The top-10 films this weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com:

1. “The Wolverine,” $55 million ($86.1 million international).

2. “The Conjuring,” $22.1 million ($6.9 million).

3. “Despicable Me 2,” $16 million ($24.5 million).

4. “Turbo,” $13.3 million ($12.5 million).

5. “Grown Ups 2,” $11.5 million ($4.2 million).

6. “Red 2,” $9.4 million ($6.1 million).

7. “Pacific Rim,” $7.5 million ($14.25 million).

8. “The Heat,” $6.85 million ($3.1 million).

9. “R.I.P.D.,” $5.85 million ($3.1 million).

10. “Fruitvale Station,” $4.65 million.