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‘The Wolverine’ claws its way to top of box office

Hugh Jackman plays the claw-wielding superhero in “The Wolverine.”

Ben Rothstein/20th Century Fox via AP

Hugh Jackman plays the claw-wielding superhero in “The Wolverine.”

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, while ‘‘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.

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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, 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.

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