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Monday Morning Mixer: SNIKT! SNIKT! 'Wolverine' slices up box office

Posted Monday, July 29, 2013 at 3:07 PM Central

by John Couture

Comic book movies are like ATMs these days, they just spit out money. There's a reason that Hollywood is seemingly optioning every comic book property in existence and that reason is that they almost always make a ton of money.

Almost.

The one thorn in the comic book ointment has been perhaps its most popular character Wolverine. When he's part of the X-Men movies, they are extremely popular and make big money. But when he strays out on his own, the results haven't been as promising.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine did pretty respectable business to the tune of almost $180 million, but the critical and fan reaction was one of almost universal disgust. With that in mind, Fox was undeterred as they readied The Wolverine for the big screen.

And yet, the late Summer release, the negative reaction to the last film and a risky storyline that takes the hero to the Far East didn't do itself any favors. Despite all of this, The Wolverine performed admirably and should help to ready the ship that is Wolverine movies.

Box Office 411

Unlike a couple of weeks ago, there was no doubt who the box office winner was going to be this past weekend. This week belonged to The Wolverine and it showed to the tune of $55 million. The number more than doubled the second place film The Conjuring ($22.1 million), but it was noticeably less than X-Men Origins: Wolverine's $85 million opening.

That's not to say that The Wolverine isn't successful, because by all accounts, it is. With a reasonable budget set around $170 million, the film should enjoy profits before it hits home entertainment later this year. Critics and fans alike approve of this film on Wolverine. Still, a total box office number in the $140-50 million should make studio executives happy and the positive word-of-mouth should help to propel positive momentum for the next Wolverine film.

The only other release of substance this week was the troubled The To-Do List. Originally slated for a more timely Valentine's release date, CBS Films decided to move the film to the death knell of late Summer. The Aubrey Plaza R-rated comedy only opened on 500 screens, but still underperformed to a measly $1.5 million, "good" enough for 15th place.

A coming-of-age high school comedy in which all of the actors were at least ten years older than the characters they were playing would have probably performed better on Valentine's Day. You know when misguided boyfriends would mistakenly believe that this film would be the perfect expression of romance.

But they didn't keep the date and then this happened.

It's hard to say what, if any, effect Aubrey's "performance" at the MTV Movie Awards had on this weekend's numbers, but it certainly didn't help matters, that's for sure. The film will struggle to make it to $5 million when all is said and done, but it should perform well on home entertainment thanks to its great ensemble cast.

In other news, Despicable Me 2 crossed $300 million and Grown Ups 2 surpassed $100 million. These movies, and others, will help July 2013 end up with around $1.3 billion, good enough for second place all-time.

Quick Hitters

While we don't know anything of much substance concerning Star Wars: Episode VII, we do know what it will sound like. According to EW, producer Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that John Williams is on board to score Star Wars: Episode VII, and presumably the other two films in the new trilogy. Given J.J. Abrams' close working relationship with composer Michael Giacchino and Williams' advanced age (he will be 87 when Star Wars: Episode IX is released), there had been some speculation as to whether the man behind the sound of all of the Star Wars films would return for the new films.

I'm sure that Michael Giacchino will still be involved though, ready to take the reins if it becomes necessary down the road. Regardless, it's great to hear that John Williams will contribute a new score for more Star Wars films.

Do you hear that? It's probably Eddie Murphy's obnoxious, contagious laugh as he prepares to bring his alter ego Axel Foley back to the big screen. That's right, Beverly Hills Cop IV is back on the fast track to the big screen. After filming a TV series pilot in which Murphy's Foley returns to pass the baton to his son, the positive reaction almost assured a pick-up, but instead it was passed over.

Now, Paramount has fast-tracked Beverly Hills Cop IV with Eddie Murphy on board. It remains to be seen if his son and the passing-of-the-baton story will stay intact, but I do know that Judge Reinhold is always ready.

And finally today, what if I told you that someone painstakingly put together every single movie reference from the first five seasons of The Simpsons? Well, someone did and it clock in at over 20 minutes!

Enjoy and remember to mix well!

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