erik lundegaard


Last week I wondered how much “Wolverine”’s box office would fall off during its second weekend and suggested north of 60% wouldn’t be good news for the franchise. Well, the numbers are in. It’s 69%.

What does that mean? A 69%, second-weekend drop is the 61st-worst in boxofficemojo’s tracking period (roughly, since 1980), but even this stat is misleading. The worst second-weekend dropoff, for example, is a 2005 film called “Undiscovered,” which fell off 86.4% from its first weekend. But Lions Gate, which pushed it into 1,304 theaters that first weekend, was already pulling out, and left it in only 754 theaters its second weekend. The steep dropoff, in other words, represented more a preemptive studio strike rather than audience disinterest—although there was obviously that, too. “Wolverine,” in comparison, increased its theater total for the second weekend, by three, to 4,102 theaters.

Here’s what’s more telling. “Wolverine”'s is the worst such dropoff for any film that opened in 4,000+ theaters, beating out the May 2007 sequels, “Pirates 3” and “Spider-Man 3,” both of which dropped 61.5% their second weekend.

Expand down to films that opened in 3,000+ theaters? It’s tied, with “Elektra,” for sixth-worst:

1.  Friday the 13th (2009)  -80.4%
2.  Doom  -72.7%
3.  Hellboy II  -70.7%
4.  Eragon  -69.9%
5.  Hulk (2003)  -69.7%
6.  Elektra  -69%
6.  Wolverine  -69%

What do the above movies have in common? With the exception of “Hellboy II”  (whose second weekend was “Dark Knight”’s first), and Ang Lee's “Hulk,” they all have lousy scores on Rotten Tomatoes. I'm talking less than 20%. In laymen’s terms, they sucked.

In fact you could program a not-bad “Movie Festival in Hell” from the films on the dropoff list. Here's your schedule: Start out with “From Justin to Kelly” at 10 a.m., offer “Captivity” at noon, then, say, “Pluto Nash,” “North,” “Miss March,” “Return to the Blue Lagoon” and top it off with “Gigli.”

Not exactly the company Wolverine wants to keep. Or any of us.

No tagsPosted at 10:17 AM on Tue. May 12, 2009 in category Movies - Box Office  
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