Perhaps Magneto Kept the Change

I don't know, old chap, I thought we'd at least break $65 millionHere’s a surprise: “X-Men: First Class”, which makes up for the disappointments of the previous two “X-Men” movies, had the smallest opening weekend of any film in the franchise since the original “X-Men” opened with $54.5 million eleven years ago.

“First Class” took in $56 million — an entirely respectable figure for a summer blockbuster, unless you compare it to the other X-movies. “X2” opened with $85.5 million; “The Last Stand”, $102.7 million; even “Wolverine”, despite the whole piracy kerfuffle, did $85 million in its first weekend.

So why the low numbers for the new one? I’d like to believe that comics fans, feeling burned by “The Last Stand” and “Wolverine”, held back until they could be sure this one actually delivered on the promise of an “X-Men” movie. But this is the age of the internets, and anyone who was on the fence would have known by Friday afternoon at the latest that it was worth the ticket price.

Lack of big stars, maybe? I mean, I’ll go see James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in anything, but they aren’t exacly megaplex marquee names yet. Lack of a breakout character? Jennifer Lawrence’s self-loathing Mystique doesn’t have quite the same appeal of Anna Paquin’s tormented Rogue or the lovesick hardass that was Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in Bryan Singer’s first film … and Fassbender’s Magneto is too sinister to really click in the same way.

I dunno. Maybe people just held off because the weather was really nice, or they were still catching up to the “Hangover” and “Kung Fu Panda” sequels. ($32.4 million and $24.3 million, respectively.) Maybe “First Class” will have a strong second showing as people play wait-and-see with “Super 8” next weekend.

In the meantime, people still go to the movies on weekdays, right? Go see it tonight, if you’ve been hesitating. No time like the present to see a movie set 49 years in the past …

3 thoughts on “Perhaps Magneto Kept the Change”

  1. I went Saturday night. The theater was a little under 3/4 full, which was suprising for the opening weekend of a summer blockbuster.

    There were some cheers at the end, so *some* people appear to have liked it. I don’t know that word-of-mouth will be enough to give it any momentum, though. I expect that a lot of the potential audience will get distracted by newer movies opening and will just wait to watch this one on DVD/Blu-ray.

    Honestly, I was pretty bored through much of the movie. I think Vaughn largely missed a big opportunity to have fun with the ’60s setting. Other than a handful of miniskirts and a couple of split-screen montages, he basically did nothing with it. And whatever sex appeal the lingerie that January Jones was wearing might have had was entirely offset by the fact that she’s the WORST ACTRESS EVER. There’s just nothing sexy about a dead-behind-the-eyes woman who stands there and blankly stares off into the distance while other people talk.

    The movie had too much CG and not enough emotion or fun. It felt rote and lacked energy. It’s certainly not as bad as the Wolverine movie, but I’d maybe put it on par with The Last Stand.

  2. I am inclined to agree with Josh, the low point for me was January Jones, who needs a different career or at least should stay away from franchise films altogether. Was she reading off cue cards, or something? Sigh.

    I enjoyed the Charles/Eric dynamic, the sets were groovy (to paraphrase Xavier) yet the filmmakers opted not to really explain the character discrepancies, namely Moira as supposedly Scottish yet not, and Emma Frost as British (but not here.)

    Kudos to Bacon for handling German and Russian dialogue with aplomb, I didn’t expect that.

  3. “I mean, I’ll go see James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in anything.”

    Me too. And I thought they were both terrific here (as always). In fact, First Class was much better than I expected it to be. I’d say it was actually my favourite X-Men film to date so I hope it rakes in some more $.

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