Wolverine: Smash Hit Despite Bad Reviews

Despite bad reviews, Gavin Hood’s prequel “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” kicked off the summer box office with a huge opening day gross of $35 million from 4,099 theaters domestically, including $5 million in midnight runs.

“Wolverine” ranks second behind 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” which grossed $45.1 million on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.  But “Wolverine” came in ahead of “X2,”  which opened on the first Friday in May 2003 with $31.2 million and finished the weekend at $85.6 million. “Wolverine” also marks the widest release in the history of Twentieth Century Fox.

“Wolverine’s” bow marks the sixth time that a Marvel Studio superhero picture has opened in the top spot at the May box office; the first was “Spider Man,” which generated $39.4 million in 2002. At the same point last year, Marvel succeeded in launching a new franchise with “Iron Man”  after the film exceeded expectations with a first day haul of $38.7 million.

Similar to Sony’s “Made of Honor” last year which made $5.6 million on its first Friday, Warner Bros./New Line’s “Ghosts of Girfriends Past” was a good counter-programming to the fan boy demos of “Wolverine” as the romantic comedy banked $5.8 million from 3,175.

Placing third was last weekend’s No. 1 picture “Obsessed,”  which drew $4.2 million off 2,514, a 63% decline, and an eight-day running cume of $39 million.

Warner Bros./New Line’s teen comedy “17 Again” took fourth with $2 million from 3,255, down 48%, and a total B.O. in its third Friday of $44.1 million.

Rounding out fifth was Paramount’ drama “The Soloist” grossing $1.7 million from 2,033, down 48%, for an eight-day B.O. of $14.2 million.