Even as I type this, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is being proclaimed as the weekend’s box office champion, taking in at least $87 million dollars, far ahead of its closest competitors. While this is certainly not shocking to many, as this film was expected to do as much, a large number of people who helped to contribute to this number were viewers who took advantage of local theaters showing the film at midnight on May 1st.
Talking with several people at a Durham, North Carolina theater gave a pretty clear indication as to what these viewers were hoping to see, even at a late hour during the traditional work week, and not in the middle of summer, no less.
Friends Daniel and Sandler were both comic book fans who admitted to having pretty high expectations for the movie, with Sandler going on to say, “I have high expectations for it as a film itself, but not for sticking to the traditional Marvel storyline.” Daniel’s girlfriend Giselle admitted that while she was there with her boyfriend, there may be another purpose in being here, “Well, Hugh Jackman is in it, so that’s maybe a reason!”
Others shared similar thoughts on both Jackman’s physical appeal as well as his past performances as Wolverine. Jasmin Carmona, who said that she grew up on the X-Men, was “ecstatic to see this movie. I love Hugh Jackman, I loved the comics and I’m hoping they didn’t screw this up." Friends Tejaswi Doddapaneni and Alia Henderson echoed Carmona’s thoughts about Wolverine with Doddapaneni saying, “It’s Wolverine, it’s Hugh Jackman! How could we not come see this movie tonight!”
A recurring theme with those attending the viewing centered around an eagerness to see the mutant Gambit, who was making his first appearance on the silver screen. “I’m glad they’re finally deciding to show him,” said John Villadon, “I’m curious as to how they’ll portray him.” Lauren Peters shared similar thoughts, noting, “I’ve loved all the X-Men films so far, and I especially love Gambit, so my expectations for what I’m going to see are pretty high.”
The age range of these night owls started in the early 20’s and appeared to go up to the late 50’s, and several in attendance noted that this was a draw as well, as it meant less likelihood that there would be potentially disruptive children present. Whatever the reasons for their choosing a midnight viewing, it’s clear that those who helped pack this particular theater helped Wolverine claw its way to number one at the box office. With Star Trek set to open in just a few days, and with another midnight opening sure to come with that movie, can Wolverine keeps its number one spot? Only time will tell.