Surprise: Audiences really love superhero movies! And apparently they especially love X-Men: Days Of Future Past , which has now surpassed all...erm, past X-Men movies at the box office. Is it McAvoy's forlorn eyes? Fassbender's shark-smile? Lawrence's (stunt-person's) acrobatics? What is it, exactly, that's making Days Of Future Past blow up like it is?
It really could be all of the above, and more. Days Of Future Past has a legendary comic book history, but Hollywood studios would likely chop up its success now to something more akin to combined star-power. Jennifer Lawrence wasn't quite a household name when X-Men: First Class came out, after all, and she hadn't yet proven her ability to straight-up annihilate the box office. Add in the longer histories of X-Men's original cast — Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, and Patrick Stewart mainly, as well as supporting figures like Halle Berry — and the undoubtable loyalties James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender inspired in audiences with First Class, and you've got a pretty solid chance at not bombing.
While superhero movies have been popular for decades, there's also definitely been a recent boom thanks to the iron-willed ambition of studios like Marvel. That's something that could have definitely contributed to Days Of Future Past's success: X-Men is both Marvel in origin and effervescently, diametrically different from what Kevin Feige's Marvel Cinematic Universe has to offer. It's campier, it's more colorful, the fight scenes are visibly different, and it's often much more heavily allegorical than your average Thor, Man of Steel, or Spider-Man. It's offering just enough of a diversification to the endless parade of Marvel and DC movies without actually stepping outside of the superhero footprint — or even outside of the superhero publisher. It's unique but it still blends in seamlessly with our cultural memory of what superhero movies over the last two decades have looked like and should look like.
It could just be that Days Of Future Past has been this successful because audiences love a mashup: X-Men can't really have an Avengers (in part because some them are actually a part of the actual Avengers), but what they can do is smash the past and future together. That's a uniting not only of the star power of the two "generations" of X-Men movies that have been so far, but also of those movies' ideologies. Combine that with the good word of mouth the film's been getting, and you've got yourself a hit.
Regardless of the reasons behind its popularity, though, the facts are bare: Days Of Future Past has crossed the $500 million mark at the worldwide box office, surpassing all the X-Men movies that came before it, and essentially ensuring there will be many more to come after it.
Image: 20th Century Fox