Over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, X-Men: Days of Future Past opened with an estimated $111 million. Worldwide, the film has already brought in $302 million and is well on its way to becoming a half-billion-dollar blockbuster. Let’s not mince words: This is the best-ever box office debut for director Bryan Singer, and that news could not come at a better time for the embattled filmmaker.
A brief recap: A little more than five weeks before X-Men: Days of Future Past’s opening day, Singer was hit with a lawsuit alleging that in 1999, the director sexually assaulted a minor named Michael Egan. Another suit followed in early May. It quickly became a legal nightmare for Singer, forcing him to drop out of all promotional press for the film, including its multiple red-carpet premieres across the world. Egan’s claims have since come under serious scrutiny, but the question of whether moviegoers might be so turned off by the entire story that they would take a pass on Singer’s biggest, boldest X-Men movie to date still lingered.
From all appearances, they did not. To put the magnitude of Days of Future Past’s debut into further perspective, the last two X-Men movies — the 2013 spin-off film The Wolverine and the 2011 prequel X-Men: First Class — opened with far more tepid numbers, in the mid-$50 million range, ultimately grossing just $132 million and $146 million in the U.S., respectively. Days of Future Past will likely surpass those numbers in a week or less. As for Singer, his most recent film, 2013’s Jack the Giant Slayer, was a true box office disaster, grossing just $65.2 million total in the U.S., which Days of Future Past made in two days.
To be sure, Days of Future Past is not quite a box office juggernaut, either (geeky pun intended). When adjusting for inflation, the movie’s numbers still rank behind 2003’s X2: X-Men United (also directed by Singer) and 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand (directed by Brett Ratner). But reaction to the film has been incredibly strong — it earned an “A” from audience polling firm CinemaScore — and with zero superhero competition until Marvel Studio’s Guardians of the Galaxy in August, Days of Future Past could linger in the box office top 10 through the rest of the summer.
The fate of the lawsuits against Singer remain unclear — Singer filed to dismiss Egan’s suit last week. But Hollywood has a historically short memory when it comes to the personal lives of its most successful stars and filmmakers. For months, Singer has been attached to direct Days of Future Past’s sequel X-Men: Apocalypse, and Simon Kinberg, producer and screenwriter for Days of Future Past, told BuzzFeed last week that Singer was still slated to direct Apocalypse. A source close to the production, however, also told BuzzFeed that Singer’s current deal was only to produce that movie, not direct it. Of course, that was before Days of Future Past made $302 million worldwide in four days. And in Hollywood, there is no achievement more impressive than the power to conjure money out of moviegoers’ pockets.
Here are the estimated top 10 box office figures for Friday to Monday, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:
1. X-Men: Days of Future Past* — $111 million
2. Godzilla — $39.4 million
3. Blended* — $18.2 million
4. Neighbors — $17.2 million
5. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — $10 million
6. Million Dollar Arm — $8.7 million
7. The Other Woman — $4.5 million
8. Rio 2 — $3.3 million
9. Chef — $2.9 million
10. Heaven Is for Real — $2.8 million