X-Men: Apocalypse is off to a strong start. Despite some lackluster early reviews, Fox's latest X-Men movie scored a $103.3 million international opening and was projected for a $90 million opening weekend in the U.S.
Its biggest competition for the weekend is Alice Through the Looking Glass, a movie with even worse reviews. Although 2010's Alice in Wonderland was a huge billion dollar-plus hit at the box office, and X-Men: Days of Future Past grossed a comparatively smaller $747 million worldwide, X-Men: Apocalypse was projected to beat Through the Looking Glass at the box office. Now with some initial numbers coming in, those projections are becoming a reality.
Variety reports that Saturday estimates point toward X-Men: Apocalypse making "a formidable $80 million over the four day of the Memorial Day holiday." While that's $10 million less than the previously mentioned projections, it still puts the movie far ahead of its competition. Through the Looking Glass, in comparison, is projected to make only $40 million over the four-day holiday weekend. That's only half the earnings of X-Men: Apocalypse, and puts Through the Looking Glass at a very distant second place.
The bad news for Disney may be tempered by the fact that its own most recent comic book movie, Captain America: Civil War, has already crossed the $1 billion mark in box office earnings, a number that contributed to the MCU's combined earnings exceeding $10 billion. That's in addition to other recent blockbusters for Disney such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Jungle Book, so at the end of the day Disney is not likely to go out of business due to the disappointing performance of Through the Looking Glass.
Still, the poor reviews and poor box office showing of Through the Looking Glass seem to indicate that audiences are through with the Looking Glass, and that maybe Disney should put to rest the franchise whose chief boast is that it has won the competition to put Johnny Depp in the most ridiculous makeup (sorry, The Lone Ranger). There are other once-animated franchises that Disney will be re-adapting for live action, such as Beauty and the Beast, and no doubt Disney will want critics comparing those movies to the success of The Jungle Book rather than the comparative failure of Through the Looking Glass.
At this point there is little doubt that when the dust has settled on the long holiday weekend, X-Men: Apocalypse will come out on top. The question now is if its box office sales will stay strong once the weekend is over, or if it will suffer from the same sort of apocalyptic drop-off suffered by Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. For the sake of the X-Men's movie future, Fox will have to hope that the movie's negative reviews don't catch up with it like they did with its DC-based rival.
X-Men: Apocalypse is now playing in theaters. Wolverine 3 opens in U.S. theaters on March 3rd, 2017, followed by unannounced X-Men films on October 6th, 2017 (possibly Gambit), January 12th, 2018 (possibly Deadpool 2), and July 13th, 2018 (possible New Mutants). X-Force is also in development.