Hugh Jackman sharpened his claws and physique to star as Logan/Wolverine in director James Mangold’s The Wolverine, the latest X-Men saga motion picture offering a more raw interpretation of the popular mutant from north of the border. Initial tracking for the latest superhero flick was strong, but those numbers has since pulled back as Friday ticket sales are selling a little slower than anticipated.
The Wolverine got a early jump on the weekend via a Thursday late night bow across North America and managed to slice and dice its way to a quick $4 million before its official opening day on Friday. As the first wave of moviegoers were watching Jackman as Wolverine travel to Japan and take on organized crime, estimates were pegging anywhere between an $80 and $90 million opening weekend.
As Friday wore on, estimates began to trickle south and the latest have been slashed down to the $60 to $65 million range. That’s still a big opening for Fox, Marvel and Jackman, but worrisome that buzz seems to have waned headed into the film’s bow instead of picking up steam.
By comparison, X-Men Origins: Wolverine had a big first weekend with $85 million. That film went on to earn $179.9 million domestically and $373 million worldwide. Barring a miraculous uptick in interest, The Wolverine will end up falling short of its predecessor when final ticket sales are accounted for.
Critics are viewing the two Hugh Jackman Wolverine vehicles quite differently. on Rotten Tomatoes, X-Men Origins: Wolverine rated rotten at 38%. The Wolverine thus far is fresh at 67%.
We will get a better read on where The Wolverine will end up for the weekend after Fox reports their Friday estimates tomorrow morning. A solid CinemaScore could push it past $70 million, and Hugh Jackman is the kind of actor that lays it all on the line and can definitely drum up referral business based on his performance alone.