The first major comic book movie release of the year (outside of The Lego Batman Movie) is about to be unleashed upon us tomorrow evening in the US, and it looks to be a headed for a whopper of an opening weekend gross – especially for an R-rated movie. Yes, that’s right. Twentieth Century Fox is releasing the first R-rated Wolverine movie, a hope fans have dreamed of for years. Send your thank you cards to Ryan Reynolds and the Deadpool team.
Adding even more optimism to the proceedings, the James Mangold-directed Logan is earning fantastic reviews from critics. As we reported earlier, the Hugh Jackman-starring franchise entry is currently 94% fresh over at Rotten Tomatoes, making this one of the best reviewed comic book movies ever. That kind of positive reaction can only help a tentpole like this with an existing built-in audience.
Outside of Hugh Jackman’s X-Men franchise installments, his previous solo entries have proven to be just about as popular as the main course films. X-Men Origins: Wolverine opened to an impressive $85 million back in 2009, and the film fought off terrible reviews, a pirated download of the movie floating around the web, and lukewarm audience reaction – all the way to a $183m final gross. The 2012 sequel (Mangold’s first outing with the character), The Wolverine, earned better reviews, took the action to Japan, and managed a $53 million opening and $132m final gross – the lowest total in the entire X-Men saga.
After the unprecedented success of Deadpool ($132m opening, $363m gross), the R-rated X-Men movie couldn’t have been a better setup to earn the greenlight for a raw and gritty Logan. The action-comedy starring Ryan Reynolds was one of 2016’s highest grossing films, and remains the highest-grossing X-Men film thus far. While an opening weekend as high as Deadpool may be hard to reach (it was a crude comedy after all), Logan is likely looking at a debut of $90 million over the three-day weekend from 4,071 screens. That would give the film the largest debut of the Wolverine spinoff movies, and one of the franchise’s largest weekends overall.