Sometimes even earning the No. 1 spot can be seen as a modest disappointment, or at least that’s what the new narrative around The Wolverine (CinemaScore: A-) would have you believe.
With no competition this weekend, The Wolverine pulled in about $55 million domestically in 3,924 locations — on target with studio estimates, but far below tracking projections, some of which went so far as to predict an $80 million weekend. With the majority of screens showing the Fox tentpole in 3-D, the movie averaged about $14,016 per screen on an estimated budget of $120 million, so this weekend’s performance is really nothing to scoff at. Interestingly, at $55 million, the film is right in line with 2011′s X-Men: First Class which made $55.1 million in its first three days at the box office in early June. But so far The Wolverine is holding steady as the second lowest opening of all of Fox’s six X-Men movies — that title goes to the first in the series which opened at $54.5 million. But X-Men was also released 13 years ago with no 3-D surcharges, so it’s not an entirely fair comparison.
The Wolverine opened internationally this weekend as well to grosses of $86.1 million, playing on 15,152 screens in 101 territories, bringing its worldwide total to about $141.1 million. Fox estimates that audiences were about 58 percet male, and 42 percent under the age of 25.
The Conjuring held its ground in second place with $22.1 million, gaining momentum throughout the weekend. It fell only 47.1 percent from its opening last week. The R-rated $20 million horror movie has made about $83.9 million so far, making it director James Wan’s biggest film to date, surpassing even the adjusted grosses for 2004′s Saw, which clocked in at $72.5 million.
In third place, Despicable Me 2 continues to rack in the profits, earning $16 million despite losing nearly 344 theaters. But the big story is that Universal’s $76 million sequel has passed the $300 million mark after 26 days in theaters, and can now boast a domestic profit of about $306.4 million and a worldwide total of $660.9 million. Currently, it’s the second-highest-grossing movie of the past year, trailing behind Iron Man 3 by about $100 million.
Turbo fell about 37.5 percent from its opening weekend and earned an estimated $13.3 million to take fourth place. Despite a respectable second-week drop, the animated, radioactive snail story still floundered out of the gates. With an estimated budget of $135 million, the Ryan Reynolds-voiced family movie has only made about $55.8 million so far, and things aren’t going to get easier as the weeks go by. The little blue guys are coming, after all. Smurfs 2 opens wide on Wednesday and could be the death knell for poor Turbo.
Rounding out the top five is Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups 2 with $11.5 million, edging the domestic grosses for the raunchy, star-studded comedy past the $100 million mark. Amazingly, it’s still only Sandler’s 15th-highest-grossing moving, but it has been in theaters for just three weeks, so there’s room to grow.
Fruitvale Station and The Way, Way Back, both Sundance movies, expanded their theater counts this weekend. Playing in 1,064 theaters, The Weinstein Company’s Fruitvale Station made the top 10 with weekend grosses of about $4.7 million, and an overall domestic total of $6.3 million. Ryan Coogler’s independent drama chronicling the true story of Bay Area resident Oscar Grant’s last day won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The themes and events are also quite resonant with current events, and could perhaps be another factor as to why the film is performing so well. Meanwhile, The Way, Way Back, from the writing, directing, and acting team of Jim Rash and Nat Faxon (who won an Oscar for their adapted screenplay for The Descendants), expanded to 886 theaters and took the 11th spot with $918K.
The To-Do List, Aubrey Plaza’s first major starring role, opened in 591 theaters and earned an estimated $1.5 million — right on track with estimates from CBS Films. With a production budget of $1.5 million as well, the R-rated sex comedy also stars Bill Hader and Rachel Bilson.
Finally, Woody Allen’s latest, Blue Jasmine, opened in six theaters in New York and Los Angeles and brought in $613K, with a stunning $102K per-theater average. Starring Cate Blanchett as a fallen 1 percenter, Allen’s well-reviewed elegant ode to wealth, mental illness, and happiness is one of the first films of the year to elicit earnest Oscar buzz. Despite its PG-13 rating, it’s also one of the few serious adult films in theaters at the moment.
Check back in next weekend for more summer box office. The Smurfs 2 opens wide on Wednesday, and the Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington display of machismo and firearms 2 Guns hits 2,800 theaters on Friday.