Weekend Box Office: ‘Logan’ Claws Its Way to Record Opening

Wolverine’s ride into the sunset helped the North America box office kick off what promises to be a busy March.

Logan, Hugh Jackman’s final turn as the iconic Marvel character, opened to spectacular business this weekend while snaring a record or two in the process. The film was joined by a great second week for Universal’s Get Out, a decent bow for Lionsgate’s religious flick The Shack and a DOA debut for Before I Fall. Overall, business surged 57% over last weekend and 14% over last year at this time.

Arriving on 4,071 screens this weekend, Fox’s Logan slashed its way to a massive $85.3 million. The debut is the biggest for an R-rated feature in the month of March, easily surpassing the $70.3 million earned by 300 a decade ago. Among the other features in the X-Men franchise, Logan’s opening round is the biggest of the three Wolverine spin-off films and the fifth highest overall of Fox’s nearly two-decade-old franchise.

Should Logan’s estimates hold the opening would become the fifth best all time opening for an R-rated feature, just ahead Fifty Shades of Grey and Passion of the Christ. No matter what the final numbers are, Wolverine’s swan song is the fourth best all-time March opening following Batman V Superman, The Hunger Games and Alice in Wonderland.

Reviews for the James Mangold-directed feature were strong across the board. The film earned a great 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Word-of-mouth among ticket buyers appears to be just as strong, as witnessed by the film’s Saturday hold. Like most event flicks, superhero features tend to be frontloaded on their opening weekends, experiencing a 20-40% decline in business after opening night. The Friday-to-Saturday drop on Logan was a mere six percent. With this much goodwill being bestowed upon the $97 million production, Logan should have a long, healthy road ahead of it at the box office.

Logan also took off like a rocket overseas this weekend, where it earned a spectacular $152.5 million from 81 markets. The launch was Fox International’s third biggest of all time behind X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avatar. $46 million was brought in from China.

Logan wasn’t the only R-rated blockbuster of note this weekend. Universal’s Get Out had a terrific sophomore session, dropping a mere 22% in business following its big debut one week ago. The Jordan Peele blockbuster scared up $26.1 million from 2,938 screens in its second round, upping its total to a great $76 million. The film should zip by the $100 million mark shortly. Depending on how well it holds over the upcoming weeks, Get Out could work its way to at least $140 million domestically. Not bad for a film that costs $4.5 million to make.

The debut of Lionsgate’s religious drama The Shack –which apparently is not a remake of Caddyshack– took third place with $16.1 million from 2,888 theaters. The Octavia Spencer/Sam Worthington drama was dismissed by critics but scored with its faith-based demographic.

In fourth place was Warner’s hit cartoon The LEGO Batman Movie with an estimated $11.6 million from 3,656 theaters. Off 40%, the block-sized version of the Caped Crusader has brought in a solid $148 million after one month of release. Overseas, the movie crossed the $100 million milestone this weekend. A final domestic total near $175 million is possible.

Rounding out the top five this weekend was the third wide opener, Open Road’s teen weepie Before I Fall. The $5 million production scored so-so reviews from critics but failed to find an audience. The most Before I Fall could muster from 2,346 theaters was $4.9 million.

One week after The “Whoopsie!” Awards, only Best Picture winner Moonlight witnessed any sort of uptick in business. The acclaimed drama moved into 1,000 additional theaters Friday to bring its screen to 1,564. That helped the film earn an estimated $2.5 million this weekend, not a bad amount given that the movie is widely available for home viewing. The overall domestic total for Moonlight now stands at $25.3 million.

  1. John Wick: Chapter Two (Lionsgate) $4.7 million (-50%); $82.8 million
  1. Hidden Figures (Fox) $3.8 million (-34%); $158.7 million
  1. The Great Wall (Universal) $3.5 million (-62%); $41.2 million
  1. Fifty Shades Darker (Universal) $3.4 million (-55%); $110 million
  1. La La Land (Lionsgate) $2.9 million (-38%); $145.6 million

Next weekend, Logan will face off against Warner’s monster epic Kong: Skull Island.

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