Saturday, May 2, 2009

I guess piracy doesn't matter after all. X-Men Origins: Wolverine grosses $35 million on opening Friday.

Super quick notes, as I'm on vacation at the moment. X-Men Origins: Wolverine opened last night to a super solid $35 million. If you discount midnight screenings, you can knock that number down to about $30 million. So call it between $80-85 million for three days. Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past did a mere $5.8 million (about what the far-less star powered Made Of Honor did in its opening day against Iron Man last year).

Wolverine, to the relief of studio execs everywhere, seemed immune both to swine flu and the rampant availability of a near-finished bootleg copy over a month before release. Sure, Fox will argue that they might have had a $100 million+ opening without the leak, but this is still a rock-solid opening for a troubled tent pole picture. This puts it just within reach of the $38 million opening day for last year's Iron Man. I don't expect nearly the weekend multiplier, since Wolverine is a sequel/prequel (more upfront demand = front loading), a less 'inclusive franchise', and (let's be honest) Iron Man was a much better picture. Still anything over $70 million would have been a big win, and Fox will get that without breaking a sweat.

Apparently, for tent pole genre pictures (as well as adult driven genre pictures like Taken and Gran Torino), 'if you make it, they will come... even if they've already watched it on their computer monitor'. Again, all variables aside, this should be a BIG win for the film industry in general, showing that the threat of online piracy is a relatively empty one even for the biggest (and lousiest) franchise pictures. More to come around Monday-ish, unless the schedule permits an earlier 'full weekend update'.

Scott Mendelson

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