'Man Of Steel': How Mighty Will Its Box-Office Debut Be?

Superman will undoubtedly win the weekend, and some experts are predicting returns of more than $130 million.

He can leap tall buildings in a single bound, but can Superman clear $100 million in a single weekend?

That's the question on the minds of box-office watchers looking ahead to a weekend that will obviously be dominated by "Man of Steel," the Superman reboot with which DC Comics owners Warner Bros. are hoping to launch a new franchise. After all, "Iron Man" eventually led to "Marvel's the Avengers," which is now the third largest movie of all time. Why wouldn't Marvel's longtime rival want a $1 billion blockbuster, too?

There's no question as to whether or not "Man of Steel" will be big. The question is how big.

After the creative and commercial misfire of "Green Lantern," Warner went all out by pairing "300" director Zack Snyder with "Batman" franchise masterminds Christopher Nolan (as producer and story collaborator) and screenwriter David S. Goyer to reboot the Kryptonian hero. They also spent a reported $225 million making the movie, to say nothing of the huge marketing rollout. "Man of Steel" kicks off with the second widest release for a non-sequel ever in more than 4,200 locations.

"Man of Steel" kicks off with the second widest release for a non-sequel ever in more than 4,200 locations. Speculation over the opening-weekend prospects has been more energetic and more varied than any tentpole film in recent memory. Warner Bros. kept their own official weekend projection in the pretty conservative $75 million range. Noting Fandango's report that "Man of Steel" led all other summer films in advance ticket sales, EW.com predicted $132 million. BoxOfficeMojo.com not only predicted "Man of Steel" will have the biggest June opening ever, dethroning "Toy Story 3" ($110.3 million), but overshot EW's projection by an additional $7 million.

Warner Bros. motion pictures group president Jeff Robinov believes "Man of Steel" may become the studio's biggest movie of all time, according to a report in Variety. While Warner hasn't had many hits in 2013 save for baseball biopic "42," it's important to remember that their filmography includes "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" (third biggest movie ever, behind "Avatar," "Titanic" and "Marvel's The Avengers," with $1.3 billion in worldwide receipts) and $1 billion club members "The Dark Knight," "The Dark Knight Rises," "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."

As reviews began rolling out leading up to release, the movie sat at a "rotten" 57 percent. By comparison, "Superman Returns" earned a 75 percent positive critical average. RottenTomatoes summed up critical consensus on "Man of Steel" by declaring the movie "Up, Up and Okay."

"This is the End" was reviewed much more positively, though it doesn't have a chance at winning the weekend. Seth Rogen co-directed with longtime writing partner Evan Goldberg and convinced Sony to let him gather a bunch of his buddies to play twisted versions of themselves in an apocalyptic comedy. James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Rogen graced the cover of Rolling Stone this week and even appeared at early screenings around Los Angeles, Tweeting about their impending arrival a few hours before. The movie boasts a raunchy cameo from Rihanna and the "death" of Michael Cera.

Having collected $7.8 million already on Wednesday, experts predicted a #2 opening and five-day total between $30 and $40 million for "This is the End." Meanwhile, threequel critical darling "Before Midnight" will expand this weekend.