By Derrik J. Lang, AP
LOS ANGELES–“Man of Steel” leaped over box office expectations in a single weekend.
The Warner Bros. superhero film earned US$113 million in its opening weekend at the box office, according to studio estimates Sunday. The retelling of Superman’s backstory earned an additional US$12 million from Thursday screenings, bringing its domestic total to US$125 million. Original box-office expectations for “Man of Steel” ranged from US$75 million to US$130 million.
“They finally got the Superman formula right,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. “Superhero movies really are the bread and butter of the summer box office. The fact that ‘Iron Man 3’ has the biggest opening of the year so far and ‘Man of Steel’ has the second biggest opening of the year just proves that.”
“Man of Steel,” which stars British actor Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane, also nabbed the record for June’s biggest opening away from “Toy Story 3,” the Disney-Pixar film which banked US$110.3 million when it opened in 2010. “Superman Returns,” the previous Superman film starring Brandon Routh in the titular role, launched with US$52.5 million in 2006.
The new take on Superman’s origin also performed solidly overseas, earning US$71.6 million from 24 territories, including the Philippines, India, Malaysia and the United Kingdom, where “Man of Steel” earned US$17.1 million. The film, which also stars Russell Crowe and Michael Shannon, is set to open next weekend in 27 more territories, such as Russia and China.
Sony’s “This Is the End” debuted in second place in North America behind “Man of Steel” with US$20.5 million in its opening weekend. The comedy starring Seth Rogen, James Franco and Jonah Hill as versions of themselves trapped in a mansion during the apocalypse opened Wednesday, earning a domestic total of US$32.8 million. The film cost just US$32 million to produce.
“We knew we were going to have competition, but we felt our movie stood on its own and had its own voice,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s president of worldwide distribution. “I believe we’ve absolutely proven that. To have this amount of money in the bank with its cost of production, good reviews and word of mouth really puts our feet on solid ground.”
In its third weekend at the box office, the Lionsgate illusionist heist film “Now You See Me” fleeced US$10.3 million in third place, bringing its total domestic haul to US$80 million. Universal’s “Fast & Furious 6” arrived in fourth place with US$9.4 million, while the studio’s invasion horror film “The Purge” starring Ethan Hawke scared up US$8.2 million in the fifth spot.
The super openings of “Man of Steel” and “This Is the End” helped to lift the box office 50 percent over last year when “Madagascar 3” and “Prometheus” held on to the top spots. “Man of Steel” will face off against stiff competition next week when Paramount’s Brad Pitt zombie thriller “World War Z” and the Disney-Pixar’s prequel “Monsters University” both debut.