$80 Million Opening Weekend For Wolverine?

There has been a lot of negative buzz surrounding the upcoming Wolverine movie. Rumors that studio execs didn’t like what they were seeing as the movie was shooting, an over sized character list, the very fact that this film was a prequel in the first place and several other reasons.

Still, the moment Gavin Hood was announced as the director, you knew that no matter how bad things looked, there would always be a chance it may end up being solid. Not sure how much of a chance, but a chance.

With the major online leak of Wolverine, some people wondered how much of a box office hit the movie would take (I mean, if piracy is really killing the industry like the MPAA says it is). In the back of my head I’ve been thinking the movie would have a $45-$50 million opening weekend (not bad at all), but to my surprise, some of the studios are actually projecting an $80 million opening weekend. Nikki Finke shares this:

Twentieth Century Fox internally is projecting $70M-$75M in domestic box office gross. But there wasn’t any foaming at the mouth at Fox when I passed along that rival studios were predicting $80M for the May 1st opening weekend of its summer blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Then again, fans are expecting a big fat debut along the order of the 2006 threequel X-Men: The Last Stand’s $102.7M, not the 2003 sequel X-Men: United’s $85.5M. (They cost $210+M and $110+M, respectively.)

I’ll go out on a limb here and say I think they’re wrong. Not because of piracy, but because I just don’t feel the buzz for this flick to warrant an $80 million opening projection. I might end up being wrong, and I hope I am… but I think projecting anything over $55 million is a bit of wishful thinking. I’m not totally confident about that. Let’s see how it plays out.