“The Wolverine,” the Marvel superhero film featuring Hugh Jackman in the title role for the sixth time, was the top weekend movie in the U.S. and Canadian theaters, with $55 million in sales for 21st Century Fox Inc.
“The Conjuring” dropped to second place from first last weekend with $22.1 million in receipts, Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.
The comic-book superheroes from Marvel, owned by Walt Disney Co., are producing box office hits for two other studios as well. Fox releases the Wolverine and X-Men films, and Sony Corp. has Spider-Man. Jackman has starred or appeared in six pictures featuring the X-Men mutants. Disney’s “Iron Man 3” is the 2013 box-office leader with $1.2 billion in global sales.
“Wolverine” was predicted to take in $72 million over the weekend, the pre-opening forecast of Boxoffice.com, an industry researcher. The film garnered a 67 percent favorable rating out of 146 reviews aggregated by Rottentomatoes.com.
In the latest picture, the brooding Wolverine, also known as Logan, travels to Japan and becomes entangled in a crisis involving the family patriarch he rescued from the radiation of Nagasaki years earlier. The story is taken from celebrated Marvel Comics episodes from the early 1980s, according to Bloomberg News critic Craig Seligman.
“‘The Wolverine’ offers about the most that you can ask from a summer blockbuster,” Seligman wrote. “It has enough story to be involving, and the fights transcend mere machinery. In its astronomically budgeted, effects-laden way, it’s appealingly modest.”
The film cost about $120 million to produce, according to researcher Box Office Mojo, and needs about $500 million in worldwide ticket sales to rate as a success for Fox, according to Boxoffice.com. That would put it ahead of previous X-Men movies. The production budget doesn’t include marketing costs. Studios typically split the proceeds with exhibitors.
Fox follows up “The Wolverine” next year with “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” a film that includes appearances by Jackman, earlier X-Men stars Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, and the newer generation of mutants led by Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy.