'Wolverine' opens big! So Hollywood, stop accusing us of stealing, OK?

Wolverine

had some pretty sharp claws. In America, the opening weekend haul was bigger that even the most optimistic expectations, even my own: $87 million. International showings doubled the take to a grand total of $160 million. That was despite the worldwide malaise over swine flu that kept some people away from crowds. It was also despite tepid reviews nearly across the board.

But most mentionable is the fact that in a well-publicized episode in late March, an early version of the movie was leaked online. The studio proclaimed that the sky was falling and piracy was going to doom the flick. Producer and star Hugh Jackman couldn't evade questions about it, which bumped his abs out of the hierarchy of conversation topics on the big talk shows.

The Hollywood Reporter's legal blog estimated that even with the astonishing gross, the leak loss figured at about $7.18 million. But that assumes a lot. It assumes, for one, that every person who watched the leaked film didn't buy a ticket during opening weekend. My bet is that most of the leakers were comic book fans who were going to see the movie anyway, and probably did. Or they may even attend in another week to see how the final version compares. While I don't think the leak did zero damage, I also am extremely dubious of the studio's doomsday claims.