‘X-Men: First Class’ Is Top Film With $56 Million in Sales

“X-Men: First Class,” News Corp. (NWSA)’s fifth film about the mutants with super powers, was the top film this past weekend with $55.1 million in sales, the lowest since the original “X-Men” in 2000.

“The Hangover: Part II,” Warner Bros.’ raunchy, R-rated comedy, fell to second with $31.4 million in its second weekend, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

“X-Men: First Class” is the second prequel in the series. News Corp.’s Fox replaced Hugh Jackman and other stars with a younger cast, following a recent trend that includes Paramount’s “Star Trek” in 2009 and Sony Corp. (6758)’s next “Spider-Man.” “X- Men Origins: Wolverine,” featuring Jackman, took in $85.1 million its first weekend in 2009.

“The last two films in the series were not very well-liked by fans, and so some people possibly dropped out of seeing this one,” said Gitesh Pandya, editor of BoxOfficeGuru.com. “But this is a much better film, so I think the word-of-mouth going forward will be quite good.”

The film, the only new one to enter wide release over the weekend, was forecast by researcher Box Office Mojo to take in as much as $69 million. The first four movies in the series generated $1.54 billion in worldwide ticket sales, averaging $384.1 million each. The original “X-Men” opened with $54.5 million in 2000.

$200 Million Mark

“X-Men: First Class” explains how key characters came together as teens and young adults during the Cold War era. James McAvoy stands in for Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, and Michael Fassbender is the steel-bending Magneto, replacing Ian McKellen. Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon and January Jones co-star.

“The Hangover: Part II,” a follow-up to the 2009 hit, led the box office to a Memorial Day weekend record with sales of $137.4 for the Friday-through-Monday period. The movie has generated sales of $185.8 million in two weeks of release.

“It’s well on its way to breaking the $200 million mark very soon and probably finishing somewhere close to where the first one ended up” Pandya said. The original film grossed $467.5 million.

The R-rated film follows a similar plot to the original. The main characters wake up in a Bangkok hotel room after wild partying, with little memory of what transpired the night before. As in the previous film, the friends are played by Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms.

‘Kung Fu Panda’

The animated 3-D feature “Kung Fu Panda 2” dropped to third from second, with $23.9 million in receipts for Viacom Inc. (VIA/B)’s Paramount Pictures. In it, Dragon Warrior Po, played by Jack Black, battles a new villain, Shen, while discovering secrets about his past. The movie also features the voices of Angelina Jolie as Po’s ally, Tigress, and Gary Oldman playing Shen. Paramount is distributing the movie for DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA)

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” the fourth film in the Walt Disney Co. (DIS) series, fell to fourth from third with sales of $18 million. The movie has taken in $190.2 million in the U.S. and Canada since it opened on May 20.

In “On Stranger Tides,” Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow is enlisted in a search for the Fountain of Youth. Penelope Cruz co-stars.

The comedy “Bridesmaids,” from Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s Universal Pictures, was fifth, taking in $12 million. The film, produced by Judd Apatow and starring Kristen Wiig, has had sales of $107.2 million in four weeks of release.

‘Super 8’

New releases next weekend include director J.J. Abrams’s “Super 8” and the children’s comedy “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer.” Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” which opened the Cannes Film Festival in April, also expands to as many as 1,000 theaters from 147 this past weekend.

Sales of the weekend’s top 12 films rose 26 percent to $153.7 million from a year earlier, according to Hollywood.com. Sales for the year to date remain 7 percent lower than last year at this time. Attendance is off 8.5 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for June 3 to June 4 and estimates for yesterday. Percentage change column represents three-day sales versus the previous week.

              Rev.              Avg./    Pct.      Total
Movie        (mln)  Theaters   Theater    Chg.      (mln)    Wks
================================================================
1 X-MEN       55.1    3,641    15,134      --        55.1      1
2 HANGOVER    31.4    3,615     8,681     -63       185.8      2
3 Kung Fu     23.9    3,952     6,045     -50       100.0      2
4 PIRATES     18.0    3,966     4,527     -55       190.2      3
5 BRIDESMAIDS 12.0    2,919     4,125     -27       107.2      4
6 THOR         4.3    2,780     1,529     -55       169.1      5
7 FAST FIVE    3.2    2,237     1,415     -51       202.0      6
8 MIDNIGHT     2.8      147    18,843      44         6.8      3
9 SOMETHING    0.8      688     1,233     -54        36.7      5
10 JUMPING     0.8      589     1,434     -54        35.9      5
11 RIO         0.7      691     1,069     -59       136.7      8
12 ELEPHANTS   0.7      572     1,214     -36        55.7      7


Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $153.7        $122.2      25.8


Year-to-date Revenue

     2011          2010
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $4,227        $4,553      -7.2


Year-to-date Attendance:     -8.5%

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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