Coming out on top. Twentieth Century Fox’s prequel X-Men: First Class topped the domestic box office with $56 million this weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter, pushing past last week's box office winner, Hangover 2. The Hangover sequel actually dropped a steep 62 percent to an estimated $32.4 million. But this was no major cause for alarm, as the film was believed to have absorbed much of its audience during its massive Memorial Day opening. Some box office pundits had hoped the the X-Men prequel would have done better than it did; predictions were as high as $60 million, particularly since it had such astonishingly good reviews for a film of its kind. Reviews for the franchise had been dwindling, but The Denver Post called this latest effort "the finest comic-book flick since 2008's The Dark Knight." Between the solid reviews and its meeting box office expectation, there is little doubt that the franchise is revived.
Rounding out the middle. The remaining top five films stayed put in line from last week. Bridesmaids, officially a sleeper hit, passed the $100 million mark, as did Kung Fu Panda 2. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides actually approached the $800 million mark, ending the weekend with a worldwide total of $790.7 million. Apart from just the studio cash cows, the new Focus Features romantic drama Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, opened to a promising start its first weekend, averaging $27,038 per theater, Indiewire reports. The film had stunning reviews: Salon reviewed that it "ranks among the most affectionate and sensitive portraits of homosexuality ever crafted by a straight person."
Dragging down the bottom. Two disappointing performances actually came from highly anticipated films this week. The Weinstein Company's Submarine, a British coming-of-age drama executive produced by Ben Stiller, was reviewed as "nearly to perfection," by the New York Post. Nonetheless, it pulled in $10,189, a disappointing number for a film that the Weinsteins picked up out of the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Another Toronto Film Festival pick-up, Shawn Ku’s school shooting drama Beautiful Boy, starring Michael Sheen and Maria Bello, averaged just $4,025 per theater. But overall, there was little to complain about. The domestic box office reported revenues up 30% over the same frame a year ago.