The Wolverine: Hugh Jackman claws his way to the top of the box office

 

The Wolverine slashed monsters and minions to smithereens to debut atop the American weekend box office.

The Fox film featuring Hugh Jackman as the claw-wielding superhero opened with $55 million in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday. 

Last weekend's top movie, Warner Bros.' low-budget horror The Conjuring, slipped to second place, adding another $22.1 million to its take. 

Despicable Me 2 was in third with $16 million. The Universal animated sequel, with its cast of cute, yellow minions, has made more than $600 million worldwide since it came out four weeks ago. 

The Wolverine, which is set in Japan and features an international cast, earned another $86.1 million outside of America. The film's opening-week take surpassed the $120 million it cost to make, said Chris Aronson, Fox's head of domestic distribution. 

"It's a huge opening for the clawed one," he said. "It played equally well from Maine to Maui." 

Another Fox film, the animated snail-racing tale Turbo, was in fourth place with $13.3 million. Adam Sandler's Grown Ups 2 followed with $11.5 million. 

Woody Allen's latest, Blue Jasmine, enjoyed a stellar opening of its own, though on a much smaller scale. Starring Cate Blanchett, the film opened in just six cinemas but still collected $612,767. 

"It's one of the biggest opening per-theatre averages ever for a non-animated film," said Paul Dergarabedian of box-office tracker Hollywood.com. 

Ticket sales this weekend were up almost 30 percent over the same weekend last summer, he said. 

"It was a good weekend to be a moviegoer because the choices just got a lot more interesting," Dergarabedian said, noting a mix that includes animated, independent and big-budget action offerings. 

Fruitvale Station, the Sundance festival winner already generating Oscar buzz, opened across the country and edged its way into the top 10, contributing to a summer box office that is up more than 10 percent over last year. 
 

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday. 

1. "The Wolverine," $55 million ($86.1 million international). 

2. "The Conjuring," $22.1 million ($6.9 million international). 

3. "Despicable Me 2," $16 million ($24.5 million international). 

4. "Turbo," $13.3 million ($12.5 million international). 

5. "Grown Ups 2," $11.5 million ($4.2 million international). 

6. "Red 2," $9.4 million ($6.1 million international). 

7. "Pacific Rim," $7.5 million ($14.25 million international). 

8. "The Heat," $6.85 million ($3.1 million international). 

9. "R.I.P.D.," $5.85 million ($3.1 million international). 

10. "Fruitvale Station," $4.65 million.

AP

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