Here’s a surprise: “X-Men: First Class”, which makes up for the disappointments of the previous two “X-Men” movies, had the smallest opening weekend of any film in the franchise since the original “X-Men” opened with $54.5 million eleven years ago.
“First Class” took in $56 million — an entirely respectable figure for a summer blockbuster, unless you compare it to the other X-movies. “X2″ opened with $85.5 million; “The Last Stand”, $102.7 million; even “Wolverine”, despite the whole piracy kerfuffle, did $85 million in its first weekend.
So why the low numbers for the new one? I’d like to believe that comics fans, feeling burned by “The Last Stand” and “Wolverine”, held back until they could be sure this one actually delivered on the promise of an “X-Men” movie. But this is the age of the internets, and anyone who was on the fence would have known by Friday afternoon at the latest that it was worth the ticket price.
Lack of big stars, maybe? I mean, I’ll go see James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in anything, but they aren’t exacly megaplex marquee names yet. Lack of a breakout character? Jennifer Lawrence’s self-loathing Mystique doesn’t have quite the same appeal of Anna Paquin’s tormented Rogue or the lovesick hardass that was Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in Bryan Singer’s first film … and Fassbender’s Magneto is too sinister to really click in the same way.
I dunno. Maybe people just held off because the weather was really nice, or they were still catching up to the “Hangover” and “Kung Fu Panda” sequels. ($32.4 million and $24.3 million, respectively.) Maybe “First Class” will have a strong second showing as people play wait-and-see with “Super 8″ next weekend.
In the meantime, people still go to the movies on weekdays, right? Go see it tonight, if you’ve been hesitating. No time like the present to see a movie set 49 years in the past …