May 27 (Bloomberg) -- “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” the latest film in the Marvel Comics series about mutants with super powers, opened with $110.6 million in domestic sales for 21st Century Fox Inc., easily beating its 2011 predecessor.
“X-Men” pushed aside “Godzilla” to be No. 1 over the long U.S. Memorial Day weekend, Rentrak Corp. said in an e-mailed statement today. “Godzilla” garnered $38.4 million for Legendary Entertainment LLC and its partner and distributor Warner Bros., placing second. “Blended,” a Warner Bros. romantic comedy, opened in third with $17.7 million.
Studios often look to sequels to outdraw the previous films. “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, is the second of a new trilogy that Fox is producing. The new movie’s sales Friday to Sunday were $90.8 million, outdrawing “X-Men: First Class,” which kicked off the new series in 2011 and collected $55.1 million in its debut.
“This was a solid Memorial Day weekend led by a terrific performance from ‘X-Men,’” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst at Rentrak.
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” was projected by BoxOffice.com to collect $115 million over the long weekend. Over three days, the sales met the researcher’s projections, said Phil Contrino, chief analyst.
“The global total is going to be around $262 million after just one weekend,” Contrino said. “That’s incredibly impressive.”
Fox said in a statement the film had the highest-grossing opening weekend globally of the “X-Men” movies. Including the latest debut, the series has collected $2.61 billion globally for the studio since 2000, according to Box Office Mojo.
The U.S. Memorial Day weekend routinely ranks among the biggest of the year for Hollywood. “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” part of the Walt Disney Co. adventure series, collected a record for the long weekend with $139.8 million in 2007, according to Rentrak.
Historically, the holiday also marked the beginning of the summer blockbuster season, until Hollywood recently started releasing its big-budget pictures earlier, spreading out the schedule so films don’t cannibalize each other. Disney followed that strategy with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which took in $95 million in its April opening for the biggest debut year to date.
Fox scheduled “X-Men” a few weeks before the start of soccer’s World Cup to ensure that its young male audience isn’t preoccupied on its release.
The movie had an estimated production budget of $200 million, according to Box Office Mojo, and has received a favorable reception, with a positive rating of 90 percent from Rottentomatoes.com, a reviews aggregator.
In the film, which also stars Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender, the X-Men send Wolverine, played by Jackman, back in time to change history and avert impending doom for humans and mutants. “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” with director Bryan Singer at the helm again, joins actors from the first trilogy of movies with the cast of the more recent pictures.
“The director melds the past and the future together, mixing eras and metaphors in ways both hard-core fans and the completely uninitiated can enjoy and understand,” wrote Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times.
“Godzilla,” which opened at No. 1 in its debut the previous weekend, has collected $155.8 million domestically, according to Rentrak. Featuring “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston, the film beat forecasts on its debut and is likely to be made into a sequel, providing recurring revenue for Legendary Entertainment.
The movie, a new take on the 1950s monster picture, pits Godzilla against two huge cockroach-like beasts that emerge, bent on destruction, 15 years after the troubling events at a Japanese nuclear plant. The movie was projected to collect $49 million over the holiday weekend.
“Blended,” with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, was the only other new film opening in wide release. Sandler and Barrymore play a couple who, after their blind date goes badly, end up stuck together at a family resort with their kids.
The movie offered an alternative for couples who weren’t looking for an action film. Reviews were mostly negative, with a positive rating of just 15 percent on Rottentomatoes.com. The film had been projected to have $25 million in receipts over the long weekend.
Revenue for the top 10 films from Friday to Monday fell 29 percent to $216.7 million from a year earlier, Rentrak said. Domestic box-office sales this year are up 3.3 percent to $4.01 billion from a year earlier.
Comparisons to the record-breaking holiday period a year ago are tough, Rentrak’s Dergarabedian said. The 2013 Memorial Day weekend featured the quadruple threat of “Fast & Furious 6,” “Hangover 3,” “Star Trek” and “Epic.”
The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Rentrak. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales for May 23 to May 26.
Rev. *Pct. Avg./ Total Movie (mln) Chg. Theaters Theater (mln) Wks ================================================================ 1 X-Men $110.6 -- 3,996 $27,627 $110.6 1 2 Godzilla 38.4 -67 3,952 9,726 155.8 2 3 Blended 17.7 -- 3,555 4,989 17.7 1 4 Neighbors 17.1 -44 3,266 5,243 116.8 3 5 Spider-Man 2 10.0 -53 3,160 3,168 187.1 4 6 Million Dollar Arm 9.2 -34 3,019 3,037 22.7 2 7 Other Woman 4.5 -41 2,154 2,092 78.6 5 8 Rio 2 3.4 -34 1,701 2,005 122.5 7 9 Chef 3.0 +220 498 5,975 4.3 3 10 Heaven Is For Real 2.8 -54 1,720 1,622 86.6 6 *Percentage change based on 3-day totals Top 10 Films Grosses This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $216.7 $305.9 -29 Year-to-date Revenue 2014 2013 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $4,010 $3,882 +3.3 Source: Rentrak Corp.
To contact the reporter on this story: Anousha Sakoui in London at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at email@example.com Ben Livesey, Rob Golum