Wolverine's Box Office Slashes Expectations?

Illustration for article titled Wolverines Box Office Slashes Expectations?

Box office estimates are suggesting that X-Men Origins: Wolverine will (slightly) top studio expectations for its opening weekend, grossing somewhere in the region of $90million. What does that say about the success of the leak?

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Both Deadline Hollywood and /Film point to the movie's $35million Friday take as a pointer to a potential weekend box office of somewhere between $85-90million, above Fox's estimated $70million but in line with X2's $85million weekend gross. If this estimate is correct, Wolverine will become the fourth most successful May opening ever (behind Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man and Iron Man, interestingly enough; apparently, May is superhero month).

What's interesting is that, despite Fox's deliberately low estimate, the movie's opening is so successful. With such bad reviews - Charlie Jane found it an ordeal to watch, and a quick glance at Rotten Tomatoes shows that she wasn't alone - and such confused buzz (and before the leak, almost no buzz at all), it's difficult to imagine that the movie ever really stood a chance of breaking the $100million barrier that some had been predicting. If nothing else, this weekend's success shows that the fanbase turned up for the movie - Is that because they hadn't torrented it, or were lured by the promise of multiple easter egg codas? And is the movie dependent on those codas generating returning fanboys to keep it afloat for awhile longer?

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DISCUSSION

lets just say for the sake of easy numbers that the workprint (which isn't really watchable as a 'movie') has been downloaded 1 million times and that every single person who downloaded it will NOT see the film in theaters = $10,000,000 (@$10/ticket) lost box office.

the box office take for just this weekend is going to be close to $100 million, and my guess for it's total take in theaters is goingto be ~$250 million...so I think one of two things is true, the number of people who donloaded the film isn't significant when compared to the number of people who want to see the movie or that many of the people who did download it will also see it in theaters.

things might be different if it had been a DVD quality copy...but I don't think so.

I don't mean to minimize the impact of media piracy, I work in VFX and piracy does effect my work - at least as it effects the thinking of the studios... I just don't think it has the impact that the studios, record labels, RIAA, MPAA etc think it does and for every voracious pirate there are millions of people who drag their asses to the theaters like they always have.