The Wolverine Claws Up $55 Million Opening, Hugh Jackman Bigger Draw Overseas (Updated)

The Wolverine Claws Up $55 Million Opening, Hugh Jackman Bigger Draw Overseas (Updated)Update: Actual box office results are in and The Wolverine made $53.1 million from Friday through Sunday, nearly $2 million less than the initial weekend estimates.

Hugh Jackman brought plenty of star power to The Wolverine this past weekend, but the latest X-Men installment fizzled in its North American debut. The Conjuring took another giant leap toward reaching $100 million after only 10 days, while Despicable Me 2 continues to hang around in the top three. Thanks to a steady field of money earners, the box office was up a healthy 25 percent over the same weekend last year with the top five films all earning more than $10 million each.

The Wolverine was saddled with the task of overcoming a bad taste left by the mediocre first Hugh Jackman-centric X-Men vehicle, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That negative perception likely played into the soft $55 million opening, a big 35% drop from the first three days of Origins that opened to $85 million. Fox put all their The Wolverine cards into Hugh Jackman, the only recognizable mutant in the film, as well as 3D surcharges. Neither worked out as The Wolverine stumbled and didn’t play to the blockbuster status previous franchise films did.

There’s still hope for The Wolverine yet. New competition will be sparse headed into August so expect smaller week-to-week drops than an early-to-mid opening would have materialized. Overseas business is strong with $85.3 million already in the bag and that’s before it opens in Japan where most of the story is set.

The Conjuring was hit with a 47% drop but still managed a strong $22.1 million in second place. With $83.9 million already, expect The Conjuring to cross $100 million by next weekend and increase studio interest in director James Wan to helm more original horror films.

Universal’s Despicable Me is helping offset the R.I.P.D. bomb by landing in third place during its fourth weekend of release. The additional $16 million pushed its overall domestic earnings to $306.4 million, though expect bigger drops once The Smurfs 2 arrives on the scene this upcoming week.

Turbo sped into fourth place with $13.3 million and has crossed $55 million with $55.8 million thus far. The Dreamworks animated film will also feel the negative effects of The Smurfs 2 and should begin a rapid move out of the top 10. Grown Ups 2 wrapped the top five with $11.5 million and reached the $100 million milestone with $101.6 million and counting.

The rest of the top 10 is as follows:

6. Red 2 (Summit) – $9.4 million (-47.9%), $35 million to date

7. Pacific Rim (Warner Bros.) – $7.5 million (-52.9%) – $84 million to date

8. The Heat (Fox) – $6.8 million (-26.4%) – $141.2 million to date

9. R.I.P.D. (Universal) – $5.9 million (-53.9%) – $24.3 million to date

10. Fruitville Station (Weinstein) – $4.6 million (expanding) – $6.3 million to date

Taking on Hugh Jackman as The Wolverine for the top spot next weekend will be Smurfs 2 with an early Wednesday opening, followed by 2 Guns and limited releases for Europa Report and The Spectacular Now on Friday.

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