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Article updated: 7/28/2013 10:20 PM

'The Wolverine' claws way to top of box office

This publicity image released by 20th Century Fox shows Hugh Jackman in a scene from “The Wolverine.” The superhero film brought in $55 million its first weekend of release.

This publicity image released by 20th Century Fox shows Hugh Jackman in a scene from "The Wolverine." The superhero film brought in $55 million its first weekend of release.

 

Associated PRess

This publicity photo released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine in a scene from the film, “The Wolverine.”

This publicity photo released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine in a scene from the film, "The Wolverine."

 

Associated Press

This film publicity image released by Universal Pictures shows the minion characters in “Despicable Me 2.” The animated sequel added another $16 million to its more than $600 million worldwide box office haul.

This film publicity image released by Universal Pictures shows the minion characters in "Despicable Me 2." The animated sequel added another $16 million to its more than $600 million worldwide box office haul.

 
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By Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- "The Wolverine" slashed monsters and minions to debut atop the weekend box office.

The Fox film featuring Hugh Jackman's sixth turn 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 overseas. 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 theaters but still collected $612,767.

"It's one of the biggest opening per-theater 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 winner already generating Oscar buzz, expanded to theaters 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.

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Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, 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.

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Estimated weekend ticket sales at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:

1. "The Wolverine," $86.1 million.

2. "Fast & Furious 6," $25.3 million.

3. "Despicable Me 2," $24.5 million.

4. "White House Down," $19.8 million.

5. "Monsters University," $15.6 million.

6. "Pacific Rim," $14.25 million.

7. "Turbo," $12.5 million.

8. "The Conjuring," $6.9 million.

9. "Red 2," $6.1 million.

10. "World War Z," $5.6 million.

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