New "X-Men" tops class at worldwide box office
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The fifth movie in the "X-Men" series took the No. 1 spot at the worldwide box office after selling about $120 million worth of tickets, distributor 20th Century Fox said on Sunday.
"X-Men: First Class," a relaunch of the Marvel comic book franchise, opened at No. 1 across the United States and Canada with $56 million -- fulfilling the studio's expectations, even if some analysts were predicting a $60 million start.
Its international tally of $64 million from 74 markets included about 30 No. 1 debuts, including Britain ($9 million), France ($7.7 million), Mexico ($5.3 million) and Brazil ($4 million).
"X-Men" was the No. 2 pick overseas, behind "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" with $69.4 million.
Even though the North American opening was sharply lower than most of the earlier films in the "X-Men" franchise, it all but guarantees there will be more films revolving around the exploits of a stable of mutant superheroes.
"We have successfully launched a brand new chapter of this franchise," said Chris Aronson, senior vice president for domestic distribution at the News Corp unit.
"X-Men: First Class," which reportedly cost about $160 million to make before tax credits, is a prequel dealing with the formative years of the future superheroes. Both critics and fans hailed the new direction.
Instead of hiring A-list talent, Fox went with critically acclaimed British director Matthew Vaughn ("Kick-Ass") and actors James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. The cast also includes recent Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence, "Mad Men" actress January Jones and Kevin Bacon.
McAvoy and Fassbender play the lead roles originated by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in 2000's "X-Men" and two sequels. A 2009 spinoff "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," starring Hugh Jackman in the title role, opened to $85 million in North America. Jackman has a cameo in the new film. Continued...