Sunday Update: Box Office Mojo is reporting a $56 million opening weekend for X-Men: First Class.
With a reported $160 million budget, the film needs strong word-of-mouth in subsequent weeks — which seems definitely possible given the positive reviews, but still difficult to navigate in a crowded summer movie landscape, with Super 8 opening next Friday and Green Lantern on June 17.
Attendance-wise, it’s the lowest opening weekend for an X-Men movie yet. $56m is a bit of a bump from the original X-Men‘s $54.5m open back in 2000, but the escalating cost of movie tickets means a lot less people saw First Class this weekend.
Similarly performing comic book movies include 2008′s The Incredible Hulk ($55.4m opening weekend) and 2005′s Fantastic Four ($56m).
Original Story: Reviews for X-Men: First Class have been very, very positive, and that translated to a solid, but not overwhelming, opening day at the box office.
First Class pulled in an estimated $21 million on Friday according to Box Office Mojo, which puts it below last month’s $25.5 million debut day for Thor (though First Class had a higher midnight gross, $3.3m over $3.25m). Which means it’s also below Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and X-Men: Origins Wolverine, and just slightly under the $21.5 million 2008′s The Incredible Hulk notched on its first day. That’s narrowly higher than the first day of the original X-Men ($20.8m and considered an impressive box office success at the time), though you’re looking at 11 years of inflation between now and then.
Perhaps a more apt comparison is with Batman Begins, a somewhat thematically similar, early days/”reboot” film that opened in June 2005 with a $15m Friday and held on for a $48.7m opening weekend. That movie went on to take home $205m domestic with a worldwide total of $372m, plus inspired 2008′s $1 billion-worldwide juggernaut The Dark Knight. The less optimistic flipside of that would be Watchmen, which premiered in March 2009 to a $24.5m Friday and $55m opening weekend, yet petered out to only a $107.5m domestic total.
X-Men: First Class is on track to make around $53m this weekend, which according to a Fox exec quoted by Deadline, is right around studio expectations.