Swine Flu Outbreak Officially Makes Wolverine History's Unluckiest Film

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First it was piracy. Then came a cover-up. And, now, despite Fox's most fan-friendly intentions, the Wolverine Curse has struck once again in a way that not even the best-placed inside source can mitigate: An global swine flu outbreak threatening to keep theatergoers home all weekend -- if theaters are even open at all.

The worst of it's in Mexico, where the outbreak originated and has since been linked to 149 deaths and more than 1,600 confirmed cases. The country clearly has more pressing matters on the national agenda than hosting a glitzy Mexico City premiere this week for Wolverine, so that's canceled. Worse yet, the country's entire exhibition industry is on lockdown and people are staying inside anyway, all but wiping out the film's opening weekend.

The numbers doubled in the U.S., meanwhile, with 28 of the 40 confirmed cases so far popping up in New York. The good news for Fox: This should keep the bootleg-DVD traffic to record low levels on Canal Street. The bad news: If swine flu diagnoses continue at this rate, the States' own theatrical climate won't look so much better than that of its neighbor to the South. Unless, that is, Fox takes the proactive step of manufacturing and distributing Wolverine-brand breathing masks just for the occasion. Which could (or should) be likelier than it sounds: It's the only thing about the film you wouldn't already get at home. Think of them like 3D glasses for the panic age. It can't go wrong.

· Swine flu may hurt 'Wolverine' bow [Variety]



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