As a standalone X-Men movie that's actually worth a damn, The Wolverine is already a rare success, and soon it will also be the too-rare good movie that's rewarded for it at the box office. The Hollywood Reporter writes that the Hugh Jackman-starring superhero effort made $4 million from early screenings last night, putting it ahead of other big openers from the summer like World War Z and Star Trek Into Darkness. It's nothing like the $12 million Man of Steel made through heavily promoted Thursday night screenings, but we won't hold that against Hugh Jackman.

The Wolverine is now poised for an estimated $65 to $70 million opening, which would just squeeze it into the top 10 of the year's biggest opening days, behind, well, pretty much every film in the box office top 10 so far. It's also not enough to get past X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which opened to a huge $87 million four years ago (that would be good enough to be the fourth-biggest opening of 2013 so far). That might be a little disappointing if you always want better movies to make more money, but The Wolverine was cheaper to make than its predecessor, and will still be a significant success when you factor in international markets, where it's expected to open huge as well. And when you see the movie, and notice how dark, small-scale and relatively realistic it is, you'll realize that $65 million for a superhero movie in which our hero performs heart surgery on himself is a pretty big accomplishment.

For more on The Wolverine, we've got lots of options for you. You can check out Eric's guide to the Marvel universe facts you need to know before seeing it, or Sean's more specific rundown of the comic book that inspired it. I also tackled the film's 3D for our latest To 3D or not to 3D explainer, and you can also listen to our review of the movie on this week's Operation Kino podcast. Finally, there's always Eric's review to check out before you head to the theaters. Let us know what you think of The Wolverine after you see it, and we'll have more box office numbers for you throughout the weekend.

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