‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Set for Biggest Debut of the Year
Godzilla may have stomped all over the competition at the box office last weekend, raking in an impressive $93 million, but for Memorial Day weekend the monster movie will be pushed out of the top spot by a gang of very famous mutants. X-Men: Days of Future Past has so many things going for it that there’s almost no way it won’t take the box office crown this coming holiday weekend.
For one, the movie is another sequel in the super-popular X-Men franchise, so it was already guaranteed a large body of viewers just from the fans of the Marvel comic and the previous film installments. In addition, the movie has a huge cast of mega-celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, and Hugh Jackman. Lawrence has embarked on one of her trademark impossibly charming publicity tours to promote the film, which has already garnered rave reviews from the critics who have seen advance screenings.
Analysts are predicting that the movie could see the strongest box office opening of the year, with forecasts seen by Variety estimating the film will make between $100 million and $110 million over Memorial Day weekend, which is described as being akin to the Super Bowl of the box office. The film’s studio, 20th Century Fox, is being a bit more conservative, estimating that the movie will make between $95 million and $100 million over the four-day weekend. The biggest opening weekend of 2014 thus far has been for a different Marvel franchise – The Avengers installment Captain America: The Winter Soldier made $95 million when it came out at the beginning of April, according to figures from Box Office Mojo.
If Days of Future Past meets those high expectations from analysts, it could even see the strongest opening of the franchise. The most recent X-Men film, X-Men: First Class, came out in 2011 and made $55 million in its opening weekend. The final film in the original X-Men trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand, made $102.7 million when it came out Memorial Day weekend 2006.
X-Men: Days of Future Past, directed by Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn, currently has a 95 percent fresh rating among the 58 reviews aggregated by Rotten Tomatoes. That’s an impressive figure, especially for a comic book-based summer blockbuster. Critics are calling it the best movie of the entire franchise, mostly due to solid performances from the actors that pull audiences through an often convoluted plot.
“In a genre in which cities are flattened and worlds destroyed with offhanded frequency, Days of Future Past — despite, yes, flattening our world — walks a rare line between casual and urgent. Since the outcome for the bad guys is not promising, and the audience instinctively understands this, Singer looks for curlicues, gags, expressions, always keeping the drama between the X-Men themselves,” wrote Chicago Tribune critic Christopher Borrelli, who also said Days of Future Past is one of the most unique superhero films in recent memory.
“The movie finds a lot of success, largely due to solid work from a lot of extraordinary actors. They maneuver around a jam-packed plot that, in lesser hands, could have left you looking at your watch,” said New York Daily News critic Joe Neumaier.
Godzilla still stands to have another strong weekend at the box office even though it won’t keep the top spot, as the movie has received a lot of positive buzz from both critics and audiences, and we’re going into a holiday weekend that will see more people with a little extra free time to go to the movies.
Blended, the romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, is also set to see a wide release this weekend. The premise of the movie involves the two famous actors playing single parents who are set up on a blind date that doesn’t go very well, only to find each other later by coincidence vacationing at the same African safari resort with their kids. While Sandler and Barrymore are very popular actors, this movie has gotten horrible reviews — with an astoundingly bad 6 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Even so, analysts are predicting that families with children perhaps not up for the mass destruction offered by Godzilla and Days of Future Past may opt for Blended instead, and estimate that movie in conjunction with the new X-Men will contribute to half of the $240 million expected to be spent at the box office this weekend.
More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet:
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