'Wolverine' claws past ghosts to claim weekend box office crown

Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:07pm EDT
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By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - "The Wolverine," starring Hugh Jackman as Marvel Comics' sharp- clawed superhero, slashed its way to $55 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales to claim the box office crown in a summer that hasn't been kind to some other big-budget action films.

"The Conjuring," the low-budget horror film that led last weekend's box office, slipped to second place with $22.1 million in domestic sales from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates. The film has generated nearly $84 million in overall ticket sales, a surprisingly strong showing for a film that cost just under $20 million to make.

The animated film "Despicable Me 2," featuring the voice of comic actor Steve Carell, finished third with $16 million in ticket sales in its fourth week in movie theaters. The film was made by Universal Pictures and has collected more than $660 million in ticket sales around the world.

Animated film "Turbo," about a super-speedy snail with dreams of racing in the Indy 500, took the No. 4 slot with sales of $13.3 million. Ryan Reynolds provides the voice for the title character in the film produced by "Shrek" creator DreamWorks Animation.

"The Wolverine" fell short of Hollywood insiders' $72 million weekend estimates, the latest in a string of big-budget action films that failed to meet expectations, though it performed strongly overseas.

In recent weeks "R.I.P.D.," "Pacific Rim," "The Lone Ranger," and "White House Down" all fizzled at the box office.

"We're incredibly happy with this result," said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox, which distributed "The Wolverine."

"It's good news on a global scale, and this is a global business," Aronson said. The film took in more than $86 million internationally, for a total worldwide gross of $141 million.   Continued...

Actor Hugh Jackman poses at the UK Premiere of "The Wolverine" at Leicester Square in London July 16, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor