LOS ANGELES - The latest ‘X-Men’ blockbuster is expected to take North America’s box office by storm this weekend, as the mutant superhero gang reunites for one of the biggest US film-going holidays of the year.
‘X-Men: Days of Future Past,’ a time-bending movie that is already a hit with critics, could make up to $110 million over the extended Memorial Day weekend that runs through Monday - the unofficial kick-off of the summer movie season. The film, in which Hugh Jackman’s saber-knuckled Wolverine travels back in time to save the earth from a devastating war, could become one of the biggest grossing movies of all time, according to industry journal Variety.
Review website Rotten Tomatoes gave it a huge 91 percent approval rating, saying it ‘combines the best elements of the series to produce a satisfyingly fast-paced outing that ranks among the franchise’s finest installments.’ The star-studded cast - including Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Michael Fassbender and Halle Berry - probably won’t hurt the bottom line either.
It features three Oscar-winning actresses - Berry, Jennifer Lawrence and Anna Paquin - and multiple Academy Award nominees including McKellen, Jackman and Fassbender. ‘The reviews have been great and we’re confident that everyone, X-fans and non-X-fans, will see this movie and really like it,’ Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox, told Variety. There was repeated applause at a special preview screening of the movie in Hollywood this week, ahead of its US release on Friday. It opened Thursday in many countries around the world.
A big opening for ‘X-Men’ would continue a solid run this year for films starring characters from the Marvel Comics universe. Sequel ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ led the North American box office for three weeks in April, and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ opened in the top spot earlier this month.
The high-adrenaline film features all the characters from the original trilogy (2000, 2003, 2006), but also includes both their older and younger selves, introduced in 2011’s ‘X-Men: First Class.’
The action alternates between a dystopian 2023, when humans and mutants are both under attack by an army of super-powerful Sentinels leaving the world teetering on the brink of oblivion, and 1973. The mutants’ father-figure teacher Professor X (played by Stewart) is forced to send Jackman’s lupine character back to the 1970s to tamper with history to head off a cataclysmic war.
Specifically, he has to stop Raven/Mystique - the shape-shifting mutant played by Lawrence, in full blue body make-up and showing off all her curves - from falling into human hands. That is because, with samples of her DNA, they created the Sentinel robot fighters.