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We were pretty enthusiastic on Friday about the potential The Wolverine had for a big opening weekend-- not humongous like X-Men Origins: Wolverine or some other blockbusters this summer, but still pretty damn strong. Now that the early numbers from Friday's box office are in, the picture is a little less rosy. The Hollywood Reporter writes that the Hugh Jackman starred made $21 million on Friday, putting it on track for a $56 million-- a full $10 million below the numbers that were being bandied about before it opened.
It will be an easy #1 for the weekend, given that it had pretty much zero wide release competition, and will still be among the year's 10 biggest openings so far, nestled between The Great Gatsby's surprise $50 million and World War Z's equally surprising $66 million. Fox had apparently hoped that The Wolverine could match the surprising success of World War Z, another movie anchored by a major star but plagued by awful buzz. It seems that the studio never hoped The Wolverine could equal the success of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which opened to a frankly incredible $85 million four years ago. Now they have to settle for their latest X-Men film opening about on par with the last one; X-Men: First Class made $56 million on its opening weekend in 2011, exactly what The Wolverine is now on target to hit.
But Hugh Jackman, director James Mangold and the studio can at least comfort themselves with warm reviews and a general sense among fans that the character has been brought back from the bring of the truly awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine. They'll need us to like him, too, since Wolvy is playing a major role in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, which sends his consciousness back to the past to help the younger Professor X and Magneto avert a terrible future. Peter Dinklage and giant robots are involved. It ought to be pretty fun.
On the smaller side of things, Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine is having a remarkable debut on just six screens in New York and Los Angeles, racking up a $29,332 per theater average-- even better than Midnight in Paris started with. Given that that film wound up a Best Picture nominee and a surprise $151 million global hit, Blue Jasmine is now looking to be just as big a success. Two small Sundance favorites are also making their way to more screens-- Fruitvale Station has expanded and made enough Friday to snag an impressive 10th place in overall box office, while the comedy The Way Way Back brought in slightly less than $1 million on Friday as it expanded to 886 theaters.
Let us know in the comments what you're seeing this weekend, and we'll have a full box office report to you on Sunday.