question of the day: Why didn’t ‘Wolverine’ make $200 million at the box office this weekend?

The estimated weekend box office numbers are in, and it looks like Wolverine pulled in around $87 million in North America, and $160 million in total around the planet. (I’ll do my usual box office roundup after the actual numbers come in later today — look for that late tonight or tomorrow.)

I figure that no matter whether Wolverine was barely able to scrape up $20 million or whether it broke records with the first $200 million weekend, the Monday-morning quarterbacking would be entertaining to watch. And one Reuters article this morning is like a roller coaster. Wolverine did awesome!:

The $87 million domestic box office for “Wolverine” was lower than the $98.6 million debut of last year’s No. 1 film, “Iron Man,’ and box office trackers had estimated an opening in a range of $85 million to $100 million.

But Chris Aronson, senior vice president of domestic distribution at “Wolverine” backer Twentieth Century Fox, said the studio was guiding industry watchers lower for reasons that included the movie being the fourth in the “X-Men” series.

“I’d been telling people that at anything over $70 million, we were going to be very happy,” he said.

But it could have done better!:

Aronson said “Wolverine” may have been affected by other issues including the flu outbreak that shut theaters in Mexico, where “Last Stand” took in $6 million at its debut.

Hilariously, the article includes an “excuse” for why a movie didn’t do even more awesomely awesome business than it did that is wonderfully creative in its stretching:

In the United States, Aronson said, a Saturday night professional basketball game between the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls likely reduced moviegoing in those cities. In Boston, ticket sales were off around 21 percent and in Chicago, they were down about 30 percent.

And then there’s this inevitable bugaboo:

Finally, an early and unfinished copy of “Wolverine” had leaked on the Internet and may have kept some fans away. But the true impact of Web watching is hard to calculate. “I don’t know that we’ll ever know” the effect, Aronson said.

My question is this: Why didn’t Wolverine make $200 million at the box office this weekend? The more outrageous you can be, the better. Make me laugh: it’s a rainy Monday here, and I could use the cheering up.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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Mon, May 04, 2009 10:07am

I blame al Qaeda.

Mon, May 04, 2009 10:19am

Two words: Male nudity.
Two more words: Full Frontal.

(Will this become the running gag of your blog, I wonder?)

Other possible reasons:

-The weather was so good, people didn’t want to go to the cinemas.
– The weather was so bad, people didn’t want to leave their homes.
– People are saving their cinematic budget for May to see Star Trek.

As a response to GWB: IBTP

Mon, May 04, 2009 11:05am

it’s all the fault of the gay, liberal, jewish, flu-spreading media.

Mon, May 04, 2009 11:28am

People spent the weekend holed up with their X-Men 3-movie box set from Wal-Mart.

Hank Graham
Hank Graham
Mon, May 04, 2009 11:36am

This is simple! It was cheezy-poofy cinematic junk food, and not all of us would olunteer to lick the cheezy-poof residue off Hugh Jackman.

Mon, May 04, 2009 12:16pm

There was a Raffi concert in San Francisco that lowered the ticket sales in that area of the essential toddler demographic.

John Voorhees
Mon, May 04, 2009 12:42pm

Isn’t this “Wolverine” something of an obscure character? A Quicksilver movie would have fared MUCH better.

Mon, May 04, 2009 12:43pm

After rewatching Point Break this weekend, I must say the reason is simple: They did not cast Keanu as Wolverine, Swayze as Sabertooth or Busey as Stryker. That dude from Point Break who ended up in that Bon Jovi video “Always” could have been Gambit. I mean can we could have the part where Sabertooth screams “Yo Logan! See you in the next life!” or “Weapon X’s dont surf….well this one does”. And finally you can pretty much use the speech from the end of Point Break word for word: “I’ve been to every city in Mexico. I came across an unclaimed piece of meat in Baja, turned out to be Deadpool. I guessed he picked a knife fight with somebody better. Found one of your passports in Sumtra, I mussed you by about a week at Fiji. But I knew you wouldn’t miss the fifty year storm, Victor” Plus who wouldnt want to see Logan fire his gun in the air in rage because he doesnt have the heart to kill Victor.

Mon, May 04, 2009 12:57pm

Don’t be silly. By now everyone knows about the mob of underpants gnomes who rampaged across the Pacific Northwest this weekend, stealing everyone’s underpants, thus rendering (most) citizens unable to attend The Movies.


MSNBC just reported on a Maryland Nissan dealership that was selling used cars for $99 on Sunday. So that explains why ticket sales were down in the DC metro area.

There was the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, so that explains soft ticket sales in Louisville and every North American city with simulcasting.

There was the big bike tour (in the rain!) in NYC!

There were gay weddings in Iowa!

There was a rummage sale in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church of Podunk, Mississippi!

Mon, May 04, 2009 1:41pm

Quite simply, the douchebags who do repeat business to get movies like Dark Knight into $200m territory? They all downloaded the movie early and hated it.

That’s my theory!

Mon, May 04, 2009 2:15pm

I blame al Qaeda

Don’t you mean al Quesada?

The real reason behind the lackluster ticket sales was Marvel releasing the pre-releasing the story in comic book form before it hit the theaters. We all know how desirable comic adaptations of movies are to the collector.

Mon, May 04, 2009 3:29pm

The Liberal Media(tm) is to blame!

Logan was working for a logging company! He was heroically cutting down trees, helping support the beauty of the great Free Market(tm) and those damn pinko treehuggers couldn’t stand that!!


Mon, May 04, 2009 5:09pm

Two many women dragged their boyfriends to “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.”

Victor Plenty
Victor Plenty
Mon, May 04, 2009 5:58pm

I think moor then two couples wood bee kneaded to get Wolverine’s ticket sails into that record braking too hundred million league, Paul.

Mon, May 04, 2009 6:07pm

The girl I saw ‘Wolverine’ with bought up all the batteries in the free world so that her vibrator would be ready for…umm…post-game. So I’m guessin a bunch of women with dead batteries in their toys skipped it until they could stock up.

Mon, May 04, 2009 8:48pm

@Ken ha! Pre-releasing the plot in comic book form was definitely the culprit. Comic-book tie-ins are great, but not when they’re released several YEARS before the movie’s release. Bad timing, Marvel!

Laurie Mann
Mon, May 04, 2009 10:49pm

I didn’t see it because the trailers made it look loud and stupid and every review (but yours!) made it sound pointless.

Tue, May 05, 2009 3:30am

All the comic geeks are mad at Fox for trying to take a chunk of Watchmen, and are waiting a couple weeks to see Wolverine.

Tue, May 05, 2009 4:56am

There is the remote possibility that this is, after all is said and done, a not so wonderful movie that will fade from memory very fast. Plot, anyone?

Oh, and this being a movie that is heavy on the FX, why not make them look more convincing? I mean, after Lord of the Rings, everything should be possible, right? But this looked like some serious studio chop-chop was going on, where the effects were concerned. (I am not referring to the unfinished print that went around, but the actual movie).

Tue, May 05, 2009 8:54am

Why are some people taking this question seriously? Mary Ann is looking for the funny, and we get a bunch of folks who are sincerely answering the question. Now THAT is funny.
My Thoughts? Not enough singing and dancing. Get Jackman to do his theater thing while in the midst of battle. Throw in some background dancers/gangbangers ala MJs ‘Beat it’ and your GOLD.

Tue, May 05, 2009 9:03am

I think you got something! LOTR has been made into a music. So has Monty Pythons Holy Grail. Even Spiderman is in the works.

I’m Wolverine!
My Adamantium can withstand kerosene.
I wear tight shirts because I’m very lean.
Now I must go cut out Sabertooth’s spleeeeeeeeeen.

Tue, May 05, 2009 9:34am

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the Musical


They’ve gotta give a number to Deadpool…

“Mmmmmmm mmmm mm m mmm mmmmmm, mmmmmmMMMMMMMMMMMMM…”

Tue, May 05, 2009 9:43am

Let the Crash Test Dummies write the song, great idea!

Victor Plenty
Victor Plenty
Tue, May 05, 2009 10:06am

Markyd, you say “a bunch of” the replies are taking this question seriously? I count maybe two or three, tops.

Granted, some of the jokes are funnier than others, and quite a few are presented with a somewhat deadpan delivery, but I don’t see all that many people here sincerely answering the question.

And how could they, when the secret boycott of Wolverine by the Catholic Church has been so successfully concealed?

Anyway, gotta go, someone’s at the door. Later, everyb