Box Office: 'X-Men' Year's Biggest Opener, Sandler Disappoints
Deadline reports that the very well-reviewed (including by me) "X-Men: Days of Future Past" is on track to haul in somewhere around $97 million by Sunday, which would make Bryan Singer's return to the franchise the biggest three-day opener of this year.
This, however, is Memorial Day weekend, the official start of Hollywood's summer, which adds a fourth day to the weekend. By Tuesday morning, the $200 million CGI-extravaganza should nudge $120 million, which means it will land in the top five of films opening over Memorial Day weekend.
"X-Men" took a huge bite out of "Godzilla," which dropped 63% over its huge opening last weekend. Over the holiday weekend the monster movie should gross another $41 million for a total take of $160 million. Deadline points out that this is far from the end of the world. "Godzilla" is huge worldwide and in just 10 days has almost grossed what "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" has over 4 weeks.
"Godzilla" is, for my money, the best film yet of the summer.
Coming in third is the third teaming of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in the family comedy "Blended," which is under-performing. After the box office gold that was "The Wedding Singer" (1998) and "50 First Dates" (2004), "Blended" was expected to open somewhere close to $30 million. Deadline predicts it could land instead between $16 and $18 million.
Though critics almost universally blasted "Blended" (I found it flawed but ultimately charming), the good news is that audiences gave the return of Adam and Drew an A- CinemaScore and the budget was a modest $45 million.
Though purely anecdotal, I sensed "Blended" might under-perform. At my 7 p.m. Thursday night screening only 4 other people showed up. Between the beginning of summer and the goodwill audiences hold for "The Wedding Singer" and "50 First Dates," that was not the kind of turnout I expected. Hopefully that A- will give it some legs.
Don't buy the talk, though, about this meaning something terrible about Sandler's career. Last summer, "Grown Ups 2" grossed an incredible $133 million. "That's My Boy" might have tanked in 2012, but 2011 saw a legitimate hit with "Just Go with It" ($103 million) and a modest hit with "Jack and Jill" ($74 million). In the right vehicle, plenty of people still want to see an Adam Sandler movie.
Coming in 4th is Seth Rogen's "Neighbors," which will cross the $100 million mark to $116 million after a holiday weekend take of $18 million. With a budget of under $20 million, everything is now icing. The frat vs. family comedy is even doing well overseas, which is unusual for American comedies that usually don't translate well.
The good news for Seth MacFarlane, whose "A Million Ways to Die In the West" opens next weekend, is that "Neighbors is finally slowing down, and doing so just in time to give "The Family Guy" creator's first starring role a real chance.
After 6 weeks, Randall Wallace's Christian film, "Heaven Is for Real" is hanging in at 9th place. By Tuesday this true story of a young boy claiming to have visited Heaven will have grossed close to $87 million.
As always, Deadline has the full top-ten, more analysis, and will be updating through the weekend.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC