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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

UPDATE:

Both Deadline and Box Office Mojo are confirming my prediction from Friday’s forecast. While some industry folks had X-MEN: APOCALYPSE opening north of $100 Million, with others thinking $90 Million could be in the cards, and with Fox projecting a conservative $80 Million, I said the film would likely fall just short of Fox’s number.

The film is now looking like it will have pulled in $77-$80 Million by the time tomorrow’s Memorial Day holiday wraps up. This is, by no means, a catastrophe for Fox- who seemed to always think it’d do a number in this range- but if the film can’t crack $80 Million- which is something both X-MEN: THE LAST STAND and X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST managed to do, it’s definitely something Fox needs to pay attention to. 

Also worth noting: The film’s primary competition, ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, badly stumbled out of the gate. So the somewhat subdued box office haul for APOCALYPSE can’t exactly be chalked up to ALICE opening at the same time. Especially when you consider that old holdovers like CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR and THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE had nice showings. People definitely went out to the movies this weekend, just not necessarily to see either of the two new major releases.

Original Forecast:

This has been quite a year so far, for those of us who follow superhero movies. There was the surprise smash hit DEADPOOL, followed by the infinitely-fascinating performance of BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, and then the latest billion-earner for Marvel Studios CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. And it’s only May! 

The story with DEADPOOL was how it swept the world, earning $763 Million despite centering on a relatively obscure character and having a very hard R-rating. The story with BATMAN v SUPERMAN was the way it fought to overcome terrible reviews to earn a respectable, if unspectacular, $871 Million worldwide that disappointed its studio and has led to all kinds of shake-ups behind the scenes. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR managed to do considerably well yet, in the post-AVENGERS world we live in, the $1,071,699,099 it’s earned through Wednesday is almost expected for a film that features such a wide assortment of Marvel heroes. 

Which brings us X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. The latest X-MEN film from Bryan Singer seems to have upped the stakes considerably and, considering the last main movie in the series (X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST) was its biggest earner yet, probably hopes to build on that momentum. And yet, considering what the viewing public has just lived through in the superhero genre, it’s going to be fascinating to see how this film performs.

All of the comic book films that have come before it this year have brought something relatively new to the table. DEADPOOL had it’s R-rating, it’s self-referential breaking of the fourth wall, and the freshness of there never having been a Deadpool movie before. BvS was the first-ever meeting of Batman and Superman on the big screen, and featured the big screen debuts of Wonder WomanDoomsday, and teases for the Justice LeagueCA:CW featured the most intense escalation of the friendly rivalry between Captain America and Iron Man, while introducing global icon Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the wake of all of that, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE simply doesn’t seem to measure up, does it? The trailers so far depict a lot of TRANSFORMERS-style destruction, a bunch of mutants fighting a villain that isn’t that well known to casual audiences, and not much in the story department. Worse still are the reviews. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE currently sits at 47% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the second worst-reviewed film in the franchise behind X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE

Also of note are the relatively quiet projections. Despite being the latest entry in the franchise that’s basically the granddaddy of the modern superhero boom in Hollywood, Fox is only predicting an $80 Million weekend. That means they think the film will do over $50 Million less than DEADPOOL, and that it will have an opening that’s less than half of what BATMAN v SUPERMAN made in its first weekend. There are other factors, of course, like the fact that Memorial Day Weekend is usually when tons of people spend their time outdoors at beaches and parks to celebrate the impending arrival of summer, and it has some stiff competition, but that projection is still fairly muted. 

Box Office Mojo thinks the film will surprise, and actually pull in north of $90 Million. I have a sinking suspicion it might actually fall just short of Fox’s projection, based on the word-of-mouth and the somewhat “nothing special” of its marketing campaign so far. 

It’s interesting to think that this film is, technically, a follow-up to DEADPOOL and yet that “risky” movie was kept so separate from the main X-MEN series- in case it tanked- that APOCALYPSE doesn’t look like it’ll benefit much from being its cinematic older brother. If the folks at Fox had checked their crystal balls and realized what a game-changer DEADPOOL was going to be, might they have found a way to tie these two movies more at the hip? We’ll never know.

The high water mark for the X series was X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, which made $748 Million worldwide and had a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. Based on the unfortunate release date- coming out the same month as CIVIL WAR and after three months of major superhero movies dominating the conversation- and the Love It or Hate It reviews it’s getting, I don’t see X-MEN: APOCALYPSE coming anywhere near that.

We’ll track this story in the days to come, as it could also tie into the overall idea that the superhero genre may start to lead to audience fatigue in the not so distant future. Let’s see how audiences take to X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.