The Wolverine seems to be that rare breed – a movie with poor reviews and a projected terrible opening, that manages to claw out of the rut. As X-Men spinoffs go, Wolverine was always the perfect character to go get his own movie, without the X-Men brand attached. Though everyone loves a bit of good ol’ Professor Xavier, there’s no argument as to who the most famous mutant is. As such, The Wolverine is scrabbling for first place at the box office this weekend and is projected a $70+ million domestic opening, according to Vulture.

Hugh Jackman, Wolverine Premiere
Jackman at The Wolverine premiere - the man has a lot to smile about.

That’s a lot of cash for a movie opening this late in summer – after all, last weekend’s big winner, The Conjuring, checked in at just under $40 million. Still, The Wolverine seems to be a late bloomer for the critics, having amassed what can only be referred to as a overall slamming by the critics, only to rise up from the ashes later – and all that, before the film even saw its general release. After holding a “rotten” rating for over a week, the film is now rated as 70% “fresh” on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes – and those critics are notoriously hard to sway.

Watch The Wolverine trailer here.

It may be the film’s exotic locations or director James Mangold seamlessly (for the most part) incorporating bits of Japanese history and culture into what is otherwise a not-all that-diverse movie franchise. Regardless, at this point, both audiences and critics seem to have changed their minds about Wolverine – it might be mostly a Hugh Jackman vehicle, but it’s still watchable, as far as moviegoers are concerned.

Catch more pictures from the film's UK premiere.

Hugh Jackman, The Wolverine Premiere
Jackman, looking dapper as usual at the premiere.