There’s still two weeks to go before Hugh Jackman unveils his reportedly final appearance as the X-Men’s Wolverine. But it looks like critics and audiences alike are ready to give the character a huge send-off when Logan debuts March 3.
Early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive for Logan so far, according to Rotten Tomatoes, with 60 of the 63 critics surveyed so far giving it a thumbs up. Even more, Forbes reporter Scott Mendelson said the film is eyeing an opening of somewhere in the $60 million range.
That would be less than the opening of Zootopia a year ago, but then again, that animated feature doesn’t carry an R rating like Logan. It would certainly help the X-Men film shoot past Fifty Shades Darker as the highest-grossing film with that rating this year, but still trending far behind Deadpool, which opened to $132.4 million in February 2016 (the biggest opening for an R-rated film ever) on its way to $363.1 million domestically.
Yet, Mendelson revealed his opening weekend prediction was quite conservative.
We are obviously two weeks out, and a lot can change – for better or for worse. But if this preliminary guesstimate matches up with the actual debut weekend figure, we’re looking at one of the top 10 biggest R-rated opening weekends of all time.
If it goes bigger than projected – and between you and me, it just might – it stands a chance of besting the $70.8 million debut of 300 for the biggest R-rated debut in the month of March.
While Logan certainly will be no Deadpool, it’s projected right now to have an opening more along the lines of Straight Outta Compton in 2015, Hannibal in 2001 and 22 Jump Street in 2014, according to Box Office Mojo. Although 300 might have the largest March opening of all time, it’s still ranked No. 7 overall behind the likes of The Passion of the Christ, Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hangover Part II.
Even among solo Wolverine films, Logan would likely finish ahead of the $53.1 million of The Wolverine in 2013, but well behind the $85.1 million of X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009.
The marketing machine from Twentieth Century Fox – which still holds the X-Men rights from Marvel – has been in full-swing, Mendelson said. However, the rocks being tossed on the road are out of the studio’s control, and have provided for a bit of a bumpy ride.
The only real missteps being the back-and-forth about whether this is really Hugh Jackman’s last adventure, and whether Deadpool will show up down the road. This wasn’t really Fox’s fault, as speculation is as speculation does, and all they have to do now is hold tight, hope for good reviews, and try to keep some air of mystery around both this film and the future of Jackman’s flagship role.
And those reviews – which started pouring in after Mendelson’s story – are looking great. Sheri Linden from The Hollywood Reporter described the film as something X-Men fans will love, and even those not that familiar with the Marvel franchise could still easily find ways to enjoy.
Seamlessly melding Marvel mythology with western mythology, James Mangold has crafted an affectingly stripped-down standalone feature, one that draws its strength from Hugh Jackman’s nuanced turn as a reluctant, all but dissipated hero. That he rises to the occasion when a child is placed in his care is the stuff of a well-worn narrative template, yet it finds a fair level of urgency in this telling.
Stephanie Zacharek from Time, however, didn’t agree at all. Instead, she claims Logan is punishing its audience with its virtue.
There’s nothing exhilarating or pulpy about Logan. The picture is mostly tedious and unpleasant, which is a shame for the sake of the performers. Jackman works hard here, and his performance does away with vanity altogether: He looks appropriately thickened and heavy and tired – his face has the contours, and the character, of a battered hat.
Fans will have their chance to weigh in on Logan on March 3 when Fox opens the film everywhere.
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