Just because X-Men was the fittest of the flock and more than just survived the weekend box office race does not mean that Darwin was right. Let’s just get that out in the open right away. But mutations made lots of money nonetheless as X-Men: First Class snagged an estimated $56 million. Not that it had any genetically enhanced competition. No other wide releases arrived in theaters on Friday.
That said, Box Office Mojo is calling the prequel’s performance only “passable,” since the last franchise flick, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, slashed its way through $85 million opening weekend. Passable, for the record, might actually be five degrees too kind when it comes to what Plugged In reviewer Paul Asay thought of the movie from a content/philosophical/spiritual perspective. He wrote,
X-Men: First Class embodies both fierce positivity and rancid negativity. It's a new story loaded with the sorts of themes and ambiguity that made the first X-Men narratives interesting. And it tells us, rightly so, that being good is hard work. All of us, be we mutant or human, must always strive to suppress our baser, more animalistic tendencies and give voice to the better angels of our beings: Charles and the X-Men represent those better angels. Erik and his crew come to represent an embrace of our "true" natures, even though those natures are often quite nasty. There's plenty of scriptural precedent for such a struggle. And there's a pretty large part of me that welcomes the spiritual discussion it naturally prompts. But while X-Men: First Class lauds many of the right things, it dabbles in a host of wrong ones. And while trying to exhort us all to be "better men," it gives us what makes us worse.
The Hangover Part II, which gave us a horrible headache last week, dropped 62% over its second weekend, but it still knocked back $32 million. Kung Fu Panda 2 slipped 49%, making $24 million. Meanwhile, posting big per-theater averages of nearly $20,000, Woody Allen’s latest, Midnight in Paris, expanded a bit (to 147 theaters), picking up almost $3 million. It’s slated to expand even more this Friday, and we’ll have our review ready by then.