‘Logan’ earns $85 million, a record for R-rated March release

Buoyed by rave reviews, “Logan” took in over $85 million in its first weekend. So strong was the word-of-mouth for this last outing of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine that takings were only down by 6% from Friday to Saturday, dipping by just $2 million from $33 million. Add in the almost $10 million that the movie made in previews Thursday, and you have one impressive haul, which far outpaces the previous record for a March release of an R-rated feature: “300” made $71 million back in 2006.

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So will “Logan” outdo its predecessors? To compare, the first two standalone “Wolverine” films were 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” ($85 million opening weekend, $179 million total domestic gross, $373 million total worldwide) and 2013’s “The Wolverine” ($53 million opening weekend, $132 million total domestic gross, $414 million total worldwide).

While “Logan” may not include the usual post-credit extra scene that we have come to expect from the “X-Men” movies, it opens with a 3-minute sneak peek at “Deadpool 2.” The success of the first “Deadpool” last year convinced Marvel Entertainment and 20th Century Fox to take a chance and allow “Logan” to be the first R-rated entry in the 10-film “X-Men” franchise, which has been PG-13 fare up till now.

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“Logan” is directed by James Mangold, who also helmed “The Wolverine.” His list of credits also includes the Oscar winning films “Girl, Interrupted” (1999) and “Walk the Line” (2005). This time around he was inspired by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven‘s graphic novel “Old Man Logan,” to come up with the story set in the dystopic America of 2029. Mangold co-also wrote the screenplay with Scott Frank and Michael Green.

With most of the mutants gone, Wolverine is laying low near the Mexican border. He cares for his ailing mentor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) while trying to protect a mysterious young girl (Dafne Keen).

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