Weekly Anticipation Index (March 7, 2009): 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' and 'Ghosts of Girlfriends Past'

Featured Stories - on March 07, 2009 by Phil Contrino

BOXOFFICE takes a look at the box office potential for two of this summer's early releases, among others.

Now that Watchmen is doing quite well in theatres across the country, we've removed it from the B OXOFFICE.com Weekly Anticipation Index and replaced it with two new films, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

Simply put, Wolverine has a lot going for it. It will be opening during the coveted first weekend of May, which is a time that moviegoers have been trained to recognize as the beginning of the summer movie season. Last year, Iron Man opened to the tune of $102 million during the same frame.

Another major asset that Wolverine has is its involvement with an established franchise. 2000's X-Men raked in an impressive domestic haul of $157.3 million, which equals around $209.5 million when adjusted for inflation. 2003's X2: X-Men United improved upon that greatly with a domestic gross of $214.9 million ($256 million when adjusted for inflation). The fact that Brett Ratner replaced Bryan Singer as the director on 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand had absolutely no negative effect on the film's box office haul. In fact, the franchise solidified its base even further by raking in $234.4 million domestically ($257 million when adjusted for inflation).

If Hugh Jackman was able to cement his reputation as a leading man outside of the X-Men franchise, then expectations would be higher for Wolverine 's box office returns. Since he's starred in such box office duds as Deception and Australia, Jackman simply does not have a following of his own that he could add to the X-Men base.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, which stars Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Michael Douglas, will serve as a nice bit of counter-programming to Wolverine and the other action extravaganzas that will be opening in the following weeks. McConaughey's romantic comedies consistently open with a little more than $20 million, and Girlfriends Past should receive a slight boost thanks to its prime release date.

Make sure to check back next Saturday when we add Star Trek to the mix.

Weekly Anticipation Index, March 7, 2009
Title Release Date Distributor Opening Weekend Cumulative
Race to Witch Mountain March 13 Disney $32M $110M
The Last House on the Left March 13 Rogue $13M $32M
I Love You, Man March 20 DreamWorks $24M $83M
Duplicity March 20 Universal $18M $60M
Knowing March 20 Summit $15M $43M
Monsters vs. Aliens March 27 Paramount/ DreamWorks $65M $220M
Fast & Furious April 3 Universal $52M $130M
Dragonball Evolution April 8 20th Century Fox $15M $42M
Hannah Montana: The Movie April 10 Disney $40M $85M
Observe and Report April 10 Warner Bros. $19M $63M
17 Again April 17 Waner Bros./ New Line $18M $40M
State of Play April 17 Universal $16M $50M
Crank: High Voltage April 17 Lionsgate $13M $38M
The Soloist April 24 Paramount/ DreamWorks $17M $57M
X-Men Origins: Wolverine May 1 20th Century Fox $98M $215M
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past May 1 Warner Bros. $24M $80M

Check out last week's chart here .

Additional reporting by Daniel Garris.

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