Box Office Report: X-Men: Days of Future Past has the year’s biggest opening and revitalises the franchise

Bryan Singer’s X-Men (2000) is generally credited with starting the phenomenally successful boom of modern comic book film adaptations that has dominated popular culture in the years since. Previous to the release of the film, comic book films had found some success with the Superman and Batman series, but had hit a low point with Batman & Robin in 1997. X-Men revitalised the comic book genre and paved the way for Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the return of Batman. Vital to the film’s success was its incredible cast, which was led by Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, setting the precedent for filling comic book films with the acting world’s top talent. The film was followed in 2003 by the arguably superior X-Men 2, and then in 2006 we were given the Singer-less disappointment  X-Men: The Last Stand. The characters from the Singer films were then put aside, apart from Jackman’s Wolverine, who appeared in two solo spin-offs in 2009 and 2013. The series was given a prequel/reboot in 2011 with X-Men: First Class, directed by Matthew Vaughn and featuring a solid cast led by James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. The film was a hugely positive critical success, but failed to set the box office on fire. Now, Singer has returned to direct Days of Future Past, adapting the incredibly popular comic story of the same name and giving him the chance to combine the universe and cast of his own X-films with those of First Class through time travel. The film has received rave reviews and has taken the top spot at the box office here in Australia, over in the US and indeed around the whole world. The film has generated the biggest opening of the year here with almost $8.4 million, overtaking the record set last week by Godzilla. The film will play extremely well over the next few weeks given the strength of the film and the fact that it won’t face competition from any other major comic book films. It’s no wonder that Singer is coming back to direct 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, which will follow the McAvoy/Fassbender era characters in a direct sequel to Days of Future Past. 

Every other film played second fiddle to the X-Men this week, with last week’s top film Godzilla taking quite a large hit, dropping to $2.4 million. The film is a big success for Warner Bros, and has guaranteed the release of at least two sequels. Seth Rogen and Zac Efron’s frat comedy Bad Neighbours continued a strong run by taking another $1.8 million. Entering the chart for the first time this week in British film Sunshine on Leith, a jukebox musical featuring music by The ProclaimersThe film came in at number ten with just under $160,000.

 

# Film Title Distributor Box Office
1 X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST FOX $8,367,455
2 GODZILLA WARNER BROS $2,446,001
3 BAD NEIGHBOURS UNIVERSAL $1,829,691
4 THE OTHER WOMAN FOX $617,572
5 THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL FOX $359,037
6 CHEF STUDIOCANAL $358,687
7 BELLE ICON $232,215
8 THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2: RISE OF ELECTRO SONY PICTURES $204,374
9 THE LEGO MOVIE ROADSHOW $163,629
10 SUNSHINE ON LEITH ENTERTAINMENT ONE $157,892

 

This week sees the release of Disney’s Maleficent, the live-action re-imagining of 1959’s Sleeping Beauty, told from the point of view of the film’s villain. The film stars Angelina Jolie as the titular character and looks to appeal to audiences who enjoyed Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful. Maleficent seems to have more going for it though; the concept of re-telling a famous story from the villain’s point of view is an intriguing one, and gives the possibility for Maleficent to be painted in a more sympathetic light. Also, it will be a great opportunity to see Jolie really let go and give it her all in a role that seems to be much more colourful and fun than her usual fare. The film is a bit of a risk for Disney, particularly given that it is director Robert Stromberg’s first film after having worked as a visual effects artist on Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. The film is going up against Seth MacFarlane’s follow up to 2012’s Ted, period comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West, which again sees MacFarlane in the director’s chair, but this time with himself in the lead role. The film is set in the Old West and also stars Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris and Liam Neeson. The film looks like fun and should do well with young audiences who love Family Guy and Ted. Also being released this week is art-house sci-fi film Under the Skin, which stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien who preys on men in Scotland. The film has received critical praise and should be a worthwhile choice if you are looking for something a bit different.

 

All figures from The Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia and Box Office Mojo.