The Reject ReportAnd I hope they’re teaching math.

But this class is probably more about learning skills like flinging energy beams from your eyes or learning how to hone you telekinetic abilities. I kind of wish I had some of those right now. That way I’d know exactly how many audience members will be attending X-Men: First Class this weekend, and my numbers will be a bit more accurate than they were this time last week. Thanks a lot, Kung Fu Panda 2.

Regardless, it seems pretty evident First Class will come in #1 this weekend, as it opens unopposed. That is, if you consider the gargantuan second weekend Hangover Part II is likely to have. Still, I’m sticking with my guns. First Class all the way, but its debut might not be as astonishing as some would hope. Let’s look into that more right now.

BIG HITTERS

The X-Men franchise has been up, up, up, then back down. Literally in that order. 2003’s X2 opened bigger than 2000’s X-Men, and X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006 opened bigger than the previous two. However, the franchise hit a bit of a snag in 2009 with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Nobody wants to remember that movie ever happened. So where will X-Men: First Class fall in the midst of this up and down series? Unfortunately, and I say unfortunately based solely on the positive buzz the movie is getting, it probably will continue the downward trend Wolverine began two years ago.

With no A-list stars to back it – none 20th Century Fox is putting in the commercials, that is – First Class will have a hard time hitting the $85m opening numbers Wolverine debuted to. Like the 2000 original, we’re dealing with a whole new slate of up-and-coming actors.

While First Class seems likely to top $54.4 million, the amount X-Men made in its debut, it won’t be anywhere near the $102.7 million The Last Stand opened to. The comic book movie has become an event since X-Men sprung onto the scene. The mere fact that X-Men: First Class is a comic book movie opening in 2011 will give it higher numbers. However, it does have a bit of a mountain to climb, and, sadly, unless it beats out all box office expectations, we may not be seeing another entry in the series with this cast. Somebody get Rob Cohen on the phone. He might be next in line to direct Wolverine 2: Bruise Control.

Here is a look at those fresh faces that will hopefully reenergize the X-Men franchise. Check out the trailer for X-Men: First Class right here:

FAMILIARITIES

Speaking of people with mutant abilities, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris has been met with some astounding success. Its first weekend pulled in nearly $100,000 per screen, and its second weekend made $44,000 on each screen and broke into the top 10. It went without question the film would be expanding once again. This weekend, it opens up to 147 screens across the nation. While its per screen average is guaranteed to go way down, its overall numbers will likely still hold. Midnight in Paris seems likely to easily break its way onto the charts once again.

Millions upon millions of people went to see The Hangover Part II despite critical cries that it’s the exact same movie as 2009’s The Hangover. So it seems obvious those same people will want to see The Hangover Part II again. That will probably be what most of them are doing this very weekend, and the sequel’s second weekend drop will likely be less than 50%. You can expect it to break past $200 million in domestic sales before the weekend is out, which will edge it past Fast Five as the biggest film of 2011 so far.

I’m still pissed at you, Kung Fu Panda 2.

LITTLE OPENERS

A lot of critical praise was launched towards Submarine out of the 2010 film festival circuit. Our very own Landon Palmer called the film “compelling and clever” and said the director Richard Ayoade “shows great confidence and promise as a director.” Audiences will be able to see for themselves, as the coming of age story opens in select cities this weekend. Here’s hoping there’s lots of pings, Crazy Ivans, and people yelling, “DIVE, DIVE, DIVE!”

Oh, it’s not that kind of submarine movie?

Also opening in limited release are The Last Mountain opening in New York and Washington, DC, Beginners opening in New York and L.A., Rejoice and Shout opening in New York, Empire of Silver opening in select cities, Beautiful Boy opening New York and L.A., Love, Wedding, Marriage opening in select cities, and Film Socialisme opening in select cities.

Here’s how the weekend is shaping up:

  1. X-Men: First Class – $74.4m NEW
  2. The Hangover Part II – $51.9m (-49.8%)
  3. Kung Fu Panda 2 – $39.9m (-34.3%)
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $25m (-50%)
  5. Bridesmaids – $17.2m (-16.9%)
  6. Thor – $7m (-41%)
  7. Fast Five – $5m (-35.5%)
  8. Midnight in Paris – $3.5m EXPANDING TO 147 SCREENS
  9. Rio – $1.2m (-48.5%)
  10. Jumping the Broom -$1.1m (-45.6%)

$226.2 million. Yes, that number seems a bit steep to me, as well. But when you’re dealing with a new blockbuster film, and three returning movies that will all have impressive second or third weekend takes, the numbers quickly begin to add up. And who can leave out the $1.2 million Rio is sure to bring in? Thanks, Rio. We couldn’t have done it without you, buddy.

Not counting the four-day Memorial Day weekend, this should prove to be the biggest weekend of 2011 so far. In fact, if those numbers hold, we could be looking at the biggest weekend since Christmas 2009. Of course, these are my numbers. What do I know? Damn you, Kung Fu Panda 2!

We’ll be back on Sunday to go over the weekend numbers.


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