Brent Lang –
“Logan” tore into the weekend box office, opening to a massive $85.3 million and proving that moviegoers will show up in force for R-rated comic book movies. The superhero spinoff marks Hugh Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine after 17 years of donning the adamantium claws.
As the movie business grows more saturated with stories about costumed vigilantes, studios are trying to find ways to differentiate their own comic book adaptations. Like “Deadpool” before it, “Logan” demonstrates that adults will turn out for tentpole fare that is bloodier and more profane than your average X-Men movie.
“Logan” is produced by 20th Century Fox and cost $97 million to make. Set in the near future, it follows Wolverine and an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart), who leaving their hiding place on the Mexican border to help a young mutant (Dafne Keen).
In some ways, “Logan” is the Wolverine film that many fans have long awaited, replete with a heavy dose of violence, adult language and earth-shattering, gut-wrenching revelations.
Based loosely on the Old Man Logan storyline from the comics, the film takes place in a future that’s not quite post-apocalyptic, but sure seems to be teetering on the edge. Mutants have all but vanished from the population, and the few that remain appear to be in hiding. That includes Logan and a diminished, ancient, and mentally deteriorating Professor Xavier.
His companions in exile are the outcast Caliban and an ailing Professor X, whose singular mind is plagued by worsening seizures.
But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy abruptly end when a mysterious woman appears with an urgent request — that Logan shepherd an extraordinary young girl to safety. Soon, the claws come out as Logan must face off against dark forces and a villain from his own past on a live-or-die mission, one that will set the time-worn warrior on a path towards fulfilling his destiny.
The return of Patrick Stewart to the role is one of the hugely satisfying aspects of Logan, as the revered thespian finally gets to bring a true depth to the character — if in a distinctly new way. His Professor X has always been mostly sidelined in the movies, but not in Logan: Sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious, this is an Xavier you’ve never seen before. James Mangold, who previously collaborated with Jackman on 2013’s “The Wolverine,” directed the movie and co-wrote the screenplay. Critics embraced the film, hailing it as a comic book movie with bite, with Variety’s Owen Gleiberman writing that “Logan” “…brings the saga to a satisfying finish.”
Despite “Logan’s” dominance, Blumhouse and Universal’s “Get Out” kept going strong. The low-budget thriller racked up $26.1 million, bringing its domestic haul to $75.9 million. That’s an impressive return for a film that cost less than $5 million to make.
Lionsgate’s “The Shack” took third place, earning a solid $16.1 million in its first weekend in theaters. The faith-based drama stars Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer and cost $26 million to produce. “The Shack” centres on a man (Sam Worthington) whose religious beliefs are tested following a family tragedy.
Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Batman Movie” and Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 2” rounded out the top five, earning $11.6 million and $4.7 million, respectively. That pushes the Lego spinoff’s box office total to $148.6 million and gives the John Wick followup a domestic gross of $83 million.
Fresh off its best picture win, A24’s “Moonlight” grossed over $2.5 million and crossed the $25 million mark. The indie studio expects the coming-of-age drama to be the highest-grossing film in its history. That said, “Moonlight,” which focuses on a young man growing up gay in Miami, is one of the least widely seen best picture winners, trailing the likes of “Spotlight” ($45 million, domestically ) and “Birdman” ($42.3 million, domestically). It has grossed more than “The Hurt Locker,” the 2009 victor that made just over $17 million stateside.
Bleecker Street’s “The Last Word” opened to $35,620 in limited release. The story of an ageing businesswoman (Shirley MacLaine) who enlists a writer (Amanda Seyfried) to pen her obituary, screened in four locations last weekend.