X-Men: Days Of Future Past claws to the top
By Rich Matthews
As expected, Fox's prequel/sequel X-Men: Days Of Future Past dominated the US box office over the Memorial Day weekend, grossing $90.7m in the standard three-day weekend, putting just behind the openings of Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95m) and the ever-fading The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($91.6m).
That's also behind franchise-best 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, which opened on the exact same weekend to take $102.8m, non-adjusted. If you ignore the money and look only at bums on seats, Days Of Future Past also placed behind X2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
However, compared to the two most recent franchise entries, director Bryan Singer's return to the world of mutants scored just shy of $40m more than last year's The Wolverine and franchise reboot X-Men: First Class. Its inability to really knock it out of the park and beat Last Stand is likely a reflection of the change in the volume of superhero movies in the marketplace, a dynamic that is also clearly having an impact on Spider-Man.
Days Of Future Past's saving grace – as is so often the case in today's moviegoing world – is a much better international performance, where it grossed a massive $171.1m in its worldwide opening, making it very likely to pass The Wolverine's $282m within a week or so, which will make it the franchise's biggest international performer, and the overall top X grosser when it finally leaves theatres.
At number two, Godzilla took a hefty 66 per cent tumble to gross $31.4m, taking its domestic total to $148.8m and a worldwide gross of $315.4m. With Japanese audiences complaining that this Godzilla is a fat American version of the 50-storey lizard, future-Star Wars-spinoff helmer Gareth Edwards' update is currently tracking on par with the inflation-adjusted gross of Sony's 1998 attempt. However, studios tend to turn a blind eye to inflation and Godzilla's final numbers may well prove big enough to warrant a sequel.
The giant aquatic reptile was followed up at number three by the third onscreen partnership between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, Blended, with a massively underwhelming $14.2m. Compare it to Grown Ups 2's $42m opening and this marks a real disappointment for Warner Bros, especially given it was a big piece of counter-programming that hoped to parlay the enduring appeal of Sandler and Barrymore's The Wedding Singer.
In comparison, the Seth Rogen/Zac Efron ribald R-rated comedy Neighbors sat just behind Blended, grossing $14m to take its tally to $113.6m and $181m worldwide. With Captain America finally dropping out of the top 10, the only other superhero in the chart, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, grossed a further $7.8m to raise its domestic gross to a disappointing $184.9m (80m behind the original reboot) and its worldwide tally to $673.9m, again $80m off pace.
The remainder of the top 10 saw Disney's Million Dollar Arm take $7.1m ($20.6m US), Cameron Diaz comedy The Other Woman gross $3.7m ($78m US, $164m worldwide), parrot animation Rio 2 bag $2.5m ($121.6m, $448.2m), Jon Favreau's indie Chef expanding its theatre count to take $2.3m ($3.5m) and Heaven Is For Real keeping the faith for $2m ($85.8m).
Next week brings a real test for Disney as the Angelina Jolie-fronted reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent, makes its CGI-heavy entrance, while Seth MacFarlane sees if he can follow-up Ted's success with A Million Ways To Die In The West.