Should Cars 2, the new Transformers and even Harry Potter be nervous?
So far, the summer box office has brought mixed results for big-budget franchises: The new Pirates of the Caribbean did and didn't wow; Kung Fu Panda 2 lost weight; The Hangover Part II opened huge, then dropped like Death to Smoochy; and the Hugh Jackman-free X-Men prequel…
Well, let's just say X-Men: First Class didn't live up to its subtitle.
Domestically, though, First Class was a fourth-class citizen.
Its $56 million Friday-Sunday take, while more than enough to top the weekend competition, marked the smallest opening for an X-Men sequel or prequel. It barely outgrossed the original X-Men movie which opened a million years (and price hikes) ago.
And so it goes this summer.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is shaping up as the lowest-grossing Pirates sequel (and, understood, lowest-grossing is a relative term for a film that's made nearly $800 million worldwide). Kung Fu Panda 2 is running tens of millions of dollars behind the pace of Kung Fu Panda. And even The Hangover Part II, $186.9 million domestic haul and all, is looking shaky.
In its second weekend, ticket sales for Part II plunged 62 percent. At the same time in its run, the original Hangover slipped less than 30 percent. In fact, during the six long months it was in theaters, the 2009 comedy never fell more than 45 percent from weekend to weekend.
So, does this mean audiences are already sick of the summer's reruns, redos and reboots?
Arguably, there's room in the numbers for that interpretation. Brad Pitt's Part II-eschewing The Tree of Life remained the hottest ticket around, grossing $620,772 from 20 locations. The no colon- or subtitle-requiring Bridesmaids broke $100 million domestically (off a $32.5 million budget). And Midnight in Paris, from the sequel-adverse Woody Allen, grossed more money, screen for screen, than X-Men: First Class.
Then again, sequels and prequels are the reason the box office was up (a lot) over the same weekend last year—and Cars 2, the new Transformers and Harry Potter have nothing to worry about.
Here's a complete look at the top-grossing films, per Friday-Sunday estimates as compiled by Exhibitor Relations: