Weekend Box Office: Wolverine Claws to First Place, The Conjuring a Strong Second

By Chris Kavan - 07/28/13 at 10:08 PM CT

There wasn't too much doubt over which movie was going to wind up in first place this weekend. The only question was how much The Wolverine would make. Although the numbers suggest that fallout from the poorly received X-Men Origins: Wolverine were still in effect, Hugh Jackman should have no problem bouncing back given a strong international push. All in all, the total box office was up 25% compared to the same weekend in 2012 and puts the month on track for the second-best total box office cum on record.


Last time around, the titular character was a bit of a letdown as Origins proved to be a box office success but left quite a bad taste behind for audiences. That may be the main reason why The Wolverine opened with respectable $55 million where earlier predictions had it set in the $70 million range. But those who did go awarded the film a nice A- Cinemascore, meaning that word of mouth should hopefully alleviate the bad reputation the last film left behind. That opening was less than Origins ($85 million) but was right in line with X-Men: First Class ($55.1 million). The big news is that internationally The Wolverine opened to a fantastic $85.3 million - a better opening than X-Men: The Last Stand, which ultimately wound up with $225 million globally. There is a good chance the movie will pick up steam given the response from critics and audiences - and a near $150 million total may be possible.


After an impressive opening weekend, The Conjuring did indeed buck horror movie trends by dropping just 47% in its second weekend. In comparison, The Purge took a 76% hit in its second weekend earlier in the year. James Wan's classic haunted house tale earned $22.1 million, bringing its total to $83.9 million and it should have little trouble breaking the $100 million mark by next weekend - and a $125 million total is likely. This makes The Conjuring the highest-grossing horror film of 2013 and it will only increase its lead from here on out.


Despicable Me 2 officially joined the $300 million club over the weekend, taking in $16 million in its fourth weekend (off 35.7%) and raising its total to $306.4 million. That makes it the sixth animated film of all time to break that mark and the first film since Toy Story 3 in 2010 to have that distinction as well. With plenty of gas left in the tank, the film should close near the $350 million mark - even with Smurfs 2 on the way next weekend.


The other animated film in the top five took a light hit as well, down just 37.5% but unlike Despicable Me 2, Turbo took in just $13.3 million in its second weekend and is limping along with just a $55.7 million total. Smurfs 2 will take a much bigger toll on this animated misfire, which will be lucky to break $75 million, let alone the $100 million mark.


Speaking of the $100 million mark, the ensemble comedy Grown Ups 2 blew right passed that mark over the weekend. Dropping 42.1%, the film took in $11.5 million and wound up with $101.6 million. This gives Adam Sandler his 14th $100+ film - better than Will Smith (at 13) and just behind Tom Cruise (with 15). I don't know whether to be happy about that statistic or profoundly dumbfounded.

Outside the top five: The other movie to open this weekend, The To Do List, broke out in 591 theaters but had a pretty anemic $2,597 per theater average and wound up with $1.5 million (15th place) proving that just because you have a female lead doesn't mean that teenage comedy will sell better. On the other hand, two other indie films made much better news. Fruitvale Station continued its expansion, ramping up its total to 1000+ theaters and raking in $4.65 million (jumping from 17th to 10th place). The Sundance favorite stands at $6.33 million and should continue to perform well with $25 million a possibility.

Woody Allen has a new milestone to celebrate at his latest film, Blue Jasmine, opened on just six screens but managed to make $613,000 for a $102,167 per theater average. That's a new personal best, topping the $99,834 average that Midnight in Paris brought in. Allen plays well to the L.A. and New York audiences - it remains to be seen if he can have as much success with wider audiences.

Next week sees the release of two very different type of films: families have reason to cheer again (and nostalgic people like me reason to groan) as The Smurfs 2 surfaces. Meanwhile, Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington team up for the actioner 2 Guns. We'll see if the latter falls victim to the action movie curse of 2013 and if Smurfs 2 can finally put a dent in Despicable Me 2. Stay tuned!


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