Over the past couple of years, Fox has bucked conventional superhero movie trends by producing hard R-rated adaptations in the form of Deadpool and this year’s Logan. The former of that pair became one of 2016’s biggest surprises, completely shattering various box office records and earning widespread critical acclaim (including a bevy of awards nominations). Its monumental success was seen as a game changer for the genre, making Fox’s decision to move forth with a more adult-orientated Wolverine solo film all the more easier.
Though it’s easy to compare the two films, they couldn’t possibly be more different. Deadpool is a raunchy action/comedy fueled by fourth-wall breaking and pop culture references. Logan, as many know by now, takes several cues from Westerns of cinema’s past to deliver a somber character study that supposedly ends Hugh Jackman’s time as Wolverine on a high note. How will those differences impact Logan at the box office, if at all? In a special edition of the box office prediction, we try to properly manage expectations for the third (and final) Wolverine standalone.
The most recent opening weekend projections indicate Logan should bring in around $80 million domestically, and possibly $170+ million worldwide. That would be an excellent start, easily topping 2013’s The Wolverine‘s $53.1 million debut. At the same time, that estimated figure is a far cry from what Deadpool did last year, when it came storming out of the gates to the tune of $132.4 million (easily a February record). There’s a pretty sizable gap between those numbers, and it’s easy to look at them and consider Logan‘s expected haul “soft,” though there are some things to keep in mind. Most notably, Deadpool‘s marketing campaign was gleefully irreverent, making it seem more accessible to casual viewers. On the flip side, Logan has embraced the world-weariness and bleak tone from the get-go and looks considerably less “fun.” Fans are still anticipating it, of course, but for other reasons.
Also, Deadpool is a tremendous outlier in the film industry. While there are plenty of lucrative R rated films, the classification is still somewhat limiting for the general moviegoing public and could prevent Logan from reaching a wider audience. This is all to say, $100+ million openings for R movies are extremely rare. In fact, Deadpool is the only one in history to achieve that. Looking beyond the Merc With a Mouth, Logan should have one of the strongest R-rated debuts ever. In the event the film reaches the $80 million projection, it would be the seventh highest all-time, besting the $70.8 million posted by 300. Any way one looks at it, that’s a great accomplishment not to be sneezed at.
So while Logan doesn’t appear to be a match for Deadpool‘s astronomical numbers, it should still be a massive hit for Fox. It’s outpacing all of the non-Deadpool films in the X-Men franchise in terms of advanced ticket sales and is arriving in theaters at a very good time. The last mega tentpole franchise installment to open was Rogue One back in December 2016, and viewers have been craving some genre thrills ever since. March will serve up plenty of that with Beauty and the Beast, Kong: Skull Island, and Power Rangers all on the way, but Logan is arriving first and should reap the benefits of its window and very positive word-of-mouth.
Our prediction: Logan will make $80 – 85 million in its first three days domestically.
Next week: The Box Office Prediction returns to its regular format as Logan squares off against Kong: Skull Island!
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