X Marks The Top Spot

The third helping of the Marvel-ous mutants wins the US Memorial Day weekend box office

Monday was Memorial Day across the Pond, and while we were enjoying a well-earned bank holiday, our colonial cousins were remembering their war heroes with lashings of pomp and lots of ceremony.

It’s also usually a good chance for a successful film to make a killing, as the Yanks go to the cinema a whole extra day to boost those box office takings. But even if it had been a regular weekend, Brett Ratner’s take on the X-Men saga would have come out a winner.

Yes, we have more Box Office Stats Only Really Fascinating For Those Who Love Trivia. Are you sitting comfortably, children? Then we’ll begin: X-Men: The Last Stand is the fourth highest opening ever in US Box office history, with $121.1 million, behind only Spider-Man, Star Wars Episode III and Shrek 2. Its Friday-only haul of $45.5 million is second only to Revenge Of The Sith’s $50 million first Wednesday last year.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, no other big movies chose to face off against the X-behemoth. But as well as the Fox folks doing happy cartwheels down the halls, one small documentary, which didn’t make the top ten, still managed to smash records in its first week. The environmentally conscious An Inconvenient Truth, which features former US Vice President Al Gore (AKA The Bloke Who Lost To Bush The First Time) presenting evidence for global warming. Despite the hefty subject matter and limited release (just four cinemas in NYC and LA), the film scooped $365,787, which might not sound a lot in comparison to Wolverine and co, but it actually represents the highest per-screen average ever in the States.

So what of the rest of the charts? The Da Vinci Code dropped 56% to second place with $43 million, but we doubt the filmmakers will be too upset. Over The Hedge held well, grabbing $35.3 million in its second week. Expect it to drop off sharply once Pixar’s Cars revs up in early June.

Further down, M:i:III could only manage $8.5 million, but then it is in its fourth week of release and has already grabbed $115.8 in the US. Poseidon, on the other hand, seems like it’s been a disaster all round, with a current total of $46.6 million that won’t help much towards the $160 million cost (and that’s not including advertising).

RV begins its drive down the charts, dropping one place to sixth, while Lionsgate’s schlocky horror See No Evil took just $3.2 million in seventh. Lindsay Lohan’s spluttering comedy Just My Luck was by far her lowest opener and looks like it’ll end up low on her earnings chart as a total. She’ll be hoping for a morale boost (if not a box office leap, given the film’s niche audience appeal) when Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion arrives.

Down at nine sits United 93, with a current total of $29.8 million and finally at 10th we have An American Haunting, ready to leave the charts and taking just $937,000 this weekend.

So, who still thinks Fox will finish the X-franchise with number three? Expect four to be shoved into production for a release date of next Wednesday…