By: Briana Phipps
“Logan” tore into the weekend box office, opening to a massive $85.3 million and proving that moviegoers will show up in force for R-rated comic book movies. The superhero spinoff marks Hugh Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine after 17 years of donning the adamantium claws.
As the movie business grows more saturated with stories about costumed vigilantes, studios are trying to find ways to differentiate their own comic book adaptations. Like “Deadpool” before it, “Logan” demonstrates that adults will turn out for tentpole fare that is bloodier and more profane than your average X-Men movie.
“Logan” was produced by 20th Century Fox and cost $97 million to make. Set in the near future, it follows Wolverine and an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart), who leaving their hiding place on the Mexican border to help a young mutant (Dafne Keen). James Mangold, who previously collaborated with Jackman on 2013’s “The Wolverine,” directed the movie and co-wrote the screenplay. “Logan” takes its inspiration from “Old Man Logan,” an acclaimed 2008 graphic novel that’s long been a fan favorite for its darker take on the hero.
“The movie is one of the truest movies to the source material in the comic book universe that’s ever been done,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s domestic distribution chief. “It’s so real, it’s so emotional, and it’s so visceral.”
Critics embraced the film, hailing it as a comic book movie with bite, with Variety’s Owen Gleiberman writing that “Logan” “…brings the saga to a satisfying finish.” The audience for the film was older and male-skewing – men made up 63% of ticket buyers, with 68% of the opening weekend crowd clocking in over the age of 25.
Despite “Logan’s” dominance, Blumhouse and Universal’s “Get Out” keeps going strong. The low-budget thriller racked up $26.1 million, bringing its domestic haul to $75.9 million. That’s an impressive return for a film that cost less than $5 million to make.
Lionsgate’s “The Shack” took third place, earning a solid $16.1 million in its first weekend in theaters. The faith-based drama stars Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer and cost $26 million to produce. “The Shack” centers on a man (Sam Worthington) whose religious beliefs are tested following a family tragedy.
Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Batman Movie” and Open Road’s “Before I Fall” rounded out the top five, earning $11.6 million and $4.9 million, respectively. That pushes the Lego spinoff’s box office total to $148.6 million. “Before I Fall” is a young adult movie about a teenager (Zoey Dutch) who is stuck reliving her last day on earth until she gets it right.
Fresh off its best picture win, A24’s “Moonlight” grossed over $2.5 million and crossed the $25 million mark. The indie studio expects the coming-of-age drama to be the highest-grossing film in its history. That said, “Moonlight,” which focuses on a young man growing up gay in Miami, is one of the least widely seen best picture winners, trailing the likes of “Spotlight” ($45 million, domestically ) and “Birdman” ($42.3 million, domestically). It has grossed more than “The Hurt Locker,” the 2009 victor that made just over $17 million stateside.
Bleecker Street’s “The Last Word” opened to $35,620 in limited release. The story of an aging businesswoman (Shirley MacLaine) who enlists a writer (Amanda Seyfried) to pen her obituary, screened in four locations last weekend.
“Logan’s” success turbocharged the domestic box office, lifting ticket sales up 12% over the prior-year period, when “Zootopia” debuted to $75.1 million. It also gets March off to a hot start. This month sees the openings of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Kong: Skull Island,” both of which are on pace to score big debuts.
“This is going to be a banner month,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with ComScore. “It’s going to end up being one of the biggest, if not the biggest March ever.”
This news was first reported by Variety.