“Man of Steel” is one of the biggest movie events of the summer, so no one doubted it would have a super opening weekend. Industry estimates ranged from a conservative $75 million to a generous $139 million for the Superman reboot, and in the end, it enjoyed the largest June opening in history.
“Man of Steel” surpassed June record-holder “Toy Story 3″ when it collected $113.1 million over the weekend, with Thursday-night screenings adding another $12 million for a total domestic gross of $125.1 million. It was also the fourth biggest non-sequel opening in history, behind “The Hunger Games,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Spider-Man.” 3-D showings made up a somewhat unimpressive 41 percent of grosses. This year, only “Iron Man 3″ had a bigger opening, and its $175.3 million debut was the second biggest of all time.
Henry Cavill’s first flight in the Superman suit had no problem beating the last flick to feature the iconic DC Comics character, “Superman Returns.” “X-Men” veteran Bryan Singer’s 2006 film was for the most part a direct sequel to 1980′s “Superman II” and ultimately made than $391 million total worldwide. “Watchmen” director Zack Snyder’s reboot, produced and co-written by “Dark Knight” trilogy mastermind Christopher Nolan, will undoubtedly crush the box office of all previous iterations. DC parent Warner Bros. hopes to setup a “Justice League” film to rival the $1 billion-plus grosses claimed by “Marvel’s The Avengers,” which united many of their standalone heroes.
“Man of Steel” made $71.6 million in 24 countries overseas. It had the top debut for the studio ever in United Arab Emirates and Malyasia and did impressive business in South Korea and Mexico. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and China will get their chance to watch Superman soar this coming weekend. Much like last month’s “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Man of Steel” divided general audiences, longtime fans and Internet spectators. Reviews for the new Superman flick were decidedly mixed (it sat at a “rotten” 56 percent on Rotten Tomatoes on Sunday) but audiences who saw it assigned it a CinemaScore of A-.
“Man of Steel” carried a reported $225 million price-tag. The weekend’s #2 movie was made for just $32 million. In a super-smart bit of counter-programming, Sony launched “This is the End” the same weekend as “Man of Steel,” offering audiences the chance to see an impressively unique and unquestionably raunchy R-rated comedy. The movie was conceived and directed by the “Superbad” writing team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Rogen rounded up a huge cast of his buddies — including James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson — and enlisted them to play themselves. Critics were extremely positive about the apocalypse-themed comedy and audiences gave it a B+ CinemaScore. “This is the End” made $20.5 million over the weekend, for a $32.8 million total since showings began Wednesday of last week.
“Now You See Me” continued to do decent business, landing at #3 during its third weekend in release with $10.3 million. The crime drama now has more than $80 million domestically against a $75 million budget. “Fast and Furious 6,” the biggest in the franchise thus far, made another $9.4 million to cross the finish line at #4, while last weekend’s #1 movie, low-budget horror flick “The Purge,” dropped all the way down to #5 in its second weekend.
“The Purge” stars Ethan Hawke, whose “Before Midnight” failed to impress as it expanded nationwide. The third critical darling from director Richard Linklater to feature Hawke alongside Julie Delpy made just $1.5 million as it leapt from 52 theaters to 897. That puts “Before Midnight” at $3.2 million domestically thus far, behind the $5.8 million of “Before Sunset.”
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