When it comes to superhero films it’s impossible not to notice how Marvel, the comic book company, has dominated the genre sinceX-Men‘s release in 2000. Prior to Marvel Studios making its own films the company sold its characters’ film rights to other studios. Twentieth Century Fox obtained the rights to the X-Men, Daredevil and The Fantastic Four (including all related characters and villains); the latter 2 properties have since reverted back to Marvel. Sony acquired the rights to Spider-Man and Ghost Rider (as well as all related characters and villains). X-Men and Spider-Man have proven to be extremely successful properties for their respective studios, and therefore won’t be reverting back to Marvel any time soon. Fox has churned out 4X-Men films with a 5th in production, as well as two Wolverine movies. Sony developed 2 Ghost Rider movies, the hugely successful Sam Rami Spider-Man trilogy, and the recent The Amazing Spider-Man with the sequel scheduled for release in May of 2014 and 2 more films scheduled for release in 2016 and 2018. If you include Warner Brothers’ plans to move forward with building its DC universe and Marvel Studios’ aggressive plans to continue to add to its own universe, the superhero genre has a bright future ahead and will certainly continue to rake in the dollars hand over fist.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular character to spawn from X-Men turned out to Wolverine. Initially the character was supposed to be portrayed by Dougray Scott, however due to a scheduling conflict with the filming of Mission: Impossible II the part was recast. Stepping into the role was relative unknown Australian actor Hugh Jackman, and much like the way Baseball Hall of Fame member Lou Gherig was forced into replacing Wally Pipp at shortstop on June 1, 1925, there was no looking back. Similar to Robert Downey Jr. being born to play the role of Tony Stark, Hugh Jackman was meant to play the part of Wolverine.
Due to the success of the original X-Men trilogy, Fox decided to move forward with origin films revolving around some of the films’ characters, and due to the popularity of both the character of Wolverine and Jackman’s portrayal of him, it was an easy decision whom to begin with. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the first (and last) of the origin films to be released and opened to an amazing $85+ million, but did so amid some controversy. Prior to its release X-Men Origins: Wolverine was ‘leaked’ online and was on the receiving end of some extremely critical criticism; the majority of which was well deserved. The one part of the film that didn’t receive much criticism was Jackman’s performance. With the proven ability to withstand criticism and his star continuing to rise, Jackman was able to get Fox to move forward with The Wolverine. Similar to the classic 4-issue miniseries from Christ Claremont and Frank Miller, a majority of the film takes place in Japan and offers a deeper story. Although it wouldn’t take much to improve on the first film, from what the trailers have shown the improvements appear substantial. I expect an easy weekend win with a box office number around $77 million, slightly less than the first film but still very impressive.
Here’s how I see the Top 10
Box Office Predictions
|3||Despicable Me 2||$13,900,000|
|5||Grown Ups 2||$9,500,000|
With only one new filming opening there’s very little to discuss, especially when everyone’s numbers are within $12M of one another. Jason and myself see The Wolverine opening the highest, with each of us seeing a $77M opening. Shane, on the other hand, is at the low end with his $65M number. The battle for 2nd place won’t be determined this weekend as Daniel, Todd and Nick are only separated by $2M. As summer nears its end, the time to catch up is slowly diminishing.
Don’t forget to join in on the game over at Box Office Ace.
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