Memorial Day weekend is notoriously rough on the box office, as most folks have other activities to distract them. Even so, 20th Century Fox’s ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ won the weekend with an estimated $80 million, below optimistic estimates that suggested it might open to the tune of $100M. This tally fell below the opening numbers of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ which also arrived on Memorial Day weekend in 2014 and well below ‘Deadpool’‘s #132M debut in February.
Critics have hated this ‘X-Men’ movie, but unlike the case of ‘Batman V Superman’, in which audiences concurred, viewers who saw ‘X-Men’ tended to enjoy it, giving it an A- CinemaScore ranking.
One factor which may have hurt ‘X-Men’ is that it’s the fourth superhero movie this season, after ‘Deadpool’, ‘Batman V Superman’ and ‘Captain America: Civil War’, the last of which is less than a month old. Audiences could be a bit burnt out with superhero movies, at least for the next few months.
Fox scored massively with the genre-bending ‘Deadpool’. But the core ‘X-Men’ had a weaker opening than 2014’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’, a.k.a. the film that tanked the franchise. With X-director Bryan Singer bidding Fox’s mutants adieu, maybe it’s time to reboot this brand from scratch or shift focus to some other spin-off characters.
At any rate, despite a somewhat underwhelming debut, ‘X-Men’ kicked Disney’s ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’‘ ass. ‘Alice’ scraped in just $35M on a budget of $170M. Disney had hoped for a $55M opening. Several factors may have contributed to this weak opening. Popular director Tim Burton didn’t return for the sequel, with James Bobin taking over. The span between the two films was a whopping six years and the first movie hasn’t exactly become a beloved classic. Of course, star Johnny Depp had some bad publicity this week, when his wife Amber Heard filed for divorce amid domestic violence charges. That may or may not have played a part in scaring off some.
It also had a lot of competition from other family films, such as last week’s #1 movie ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ and ‘The Jungle Book’ which is still holding up well (it just surpassed ‘Batman V Superman’) and even the months-old ‘Zootopia’ which is still in the Top Ten.
Like ‘X-Men’, ‘Alice’ was not a hit with critics, but audiences gave it an A-.
One fact that can’t be avoided is that both the top movies probably would have fared better without the other one stealing potential viewers. Opening two tentpole movies on the same weekend rarely works out for either party.
Here are the official numbers:
- X-Men: Apocalypse (20th Century Fox) – $65M
- Alice Through The Looking Glass (Disney) – $28M
- The Angry Birds Movie (Sony) – $18.7M
- Captain America: Civil War (Disney) – $15M
- Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (Universal) – $9
‘Captain America’ just surpassed ‘Deadpool’ to become the year’s top grosser.
The mutants of the ‘X-Men’ will have to face off against another team of mutants, the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ next week. The sequel ‘Out of the Shadows’ opens, but will this more comedic, younger-skewing flick be able to take down Magneto and company?
In counter-programing news, Andy Samberg’s Justin Bieber spoof ‘Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping’ and romantic drama ‘Me Before You’ are also arriving.
Check back to see how things turn out!