Box Office: ‘The Wolverine’ claws its way to just $55 million

After a summer where only two original films have been #1 at the box office since the beginning of May, a popular character had a less potent return than expected. Are all the sequels and reboots starting to turn off moviegoers?  It’s one theory 20th Century Fox executives will have to consider Monday morning when they wonder why James Mangold’s “The Wolverine” grossed just $55 million.  

Four years ago “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” debuted to $85 million with mediocre reviews and concerns over a digital copy of the film circulating on the internet over a month before opening. The second installment had much better notices, earned an A- from moviegoers and benefited from higher 3D ticket prices while still coming up substantially short. Fox’s Japanese inspired print campaign was classy, but the trailers and TV spots did little to make “The Wolverine” seem like a must-see to casual “X-Men” fans. The studio will hope that International grosses help make recoup the rumored $120 million budget. 

Dropping to no. 2 was Warner Bros. surprise hit “The Conjuring.” The acclaimed supernatural thriller found another $22.1 million for $83 million in just 10 days.  It should surpass the $100 million mark sometime over the next week.

“Despicable Me 2” arrived in third with $16 million for a staggering $306.4 million to date. The Universal Pictures release is the second highest grossing movie of the year so far behind “Iron Man 3’s” $407 million.

DreamWorks Animation’s “Turbo” has suffered under “Despicable Me 2’s” shadow as it fell to fourth with another $13.3 million and just $55.7 million in less than two weeks. DWA has to be concerned on the marketing for “Turbo” after the success of “The Crooks” this past spring.

“Grown Ups 2” officially took the heat off Adam Sandler this weekend as it earned another $11.5 million to cross the $100 million mark with $101.6 million.  It’s unlikely to hit the $162 million the first film did, but it puts an end to Sandler’s box office misfortunes after the bombs “Jack and Jill” and “That’s My Boy.”

In limited release, Sony Classics scored a sweet art house hit as Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” found $613,000 or $102,167 per screen in just six theaters.  That’s the highest per screen of the year and a record for an Allen film.

Next week’s new releases including “Smurfs 2” opening on Wednesday and “2 Guns” debuting on Friday.