Weekend Box Office: MAN OF STEEL Soars to New June Record with $113 Million

     June 16, 2013

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After months of speculation, we have an answer: on its first weekend in theatres Man of Steel earned an estimated $113 million from 4,207 locations. That does not include the $12 million from its Thursday evening previews, but the number was still big enough to give Superman the new record for June.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Man of Steel $113,080,000 $125
2.  This Is The End $20,500,000 $32.8
3.  Now You See Me $10,320,000 $80
4.  Fast & Furious 6 $9,400,000 $219.5
5.  The Purge $8,200,000 $51.8
6.  The Internship $7,000,000 $30.9
7.  Epic $6,000,000 $95.4
8.  Star Trek Into Darkness $5,660,000 $210.4
9.  After Earth $3,750,000 $54.2
10.  Iron Man 3 $2,908,000 $399.6

Man of Steel poster SupermanThe previous weekend record for June was set in 2010 by Toy Story 3 with $110.3 million, ahead of the $108.9 million of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Tf2’s number did not include its first three days, however, which add up to $127.8 million. Much more relevant to Warner Bros. is the fact that Man of Steel more than doubled the opening of Superman Returns. In June of 2006, the studio’s last stab at Superman debuted with $52.5 million on its way to a $200 million US total and $391 million worldwide.

The legacy of Superman Returns played a big role in the genesis of Man of Steel. The lukewarm reaction to Bryan Singer’s feature meant that Warner Bros. would have to start from scratch to give the DC universe another shot at challenging Marvel’s slate of successful superhero properties. By now you probably know the origin story of the new Superman film – Nolan, Goyer, Snyder and Cavill – but what remained unknown was how MoS would be received by audiences. From the start, expectations ranged widely. WB set a low bar with its $85 million projection; while fans confidently predicted a weekend in the $135 million range. In the end, Man of Steel landed in the middle – right where tracking had it last week.

For a time, it looked like Superman would fly higher. For weeks the buzz around Man of Steel hailed the film as a ‘home run’: both creatively and financially. And then the reviews started to come in. Watching the Rotten Tomato score for Man of Steel sink steadily had to be disheartening for DC fans. Today, the film rates 56% on the site – compared to the 85% of Superman Returns. Audiences were more enthusiastic, giving the film an overall A- CinemaScore, but the real test for MoS will come next weekend when it goes up against World War Z and Monsters University. Will word of mouth help or hurt? In one respect it doesn’t matter because the sequel has already been ordered. And then there’s the prospect of international receipts to consider.

this-is-the-end-posterMan of Steel opened in 24 international markets this week – and took first place in most. So far, the film has earned over $71 million overseas, with an additional 26 markets set to open next week. The studio has said that they expect Man of Steel to double the $191 international take of Superman Returns and, with the increased importance of international markets since 2006 (and the addition of 3D with MoS) that seems feasible.

A casual scan of this column would suggest that Man of Steel was the only movie playing this weekend, but This Is The End would beg to differ. The apocalyptic comedy from Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel opened on Wednesday with $7.8 million from 3,055 locations and went on to an estimated $20.5 million this weekend. The R-rated comedy received a warm response from critics (85% on Rotten Tomatoes) and has grossed almost $33 million in five days. That’s just over the reported budget for This Is The End, so WB is not the only happy studio this morning.

Overall, box office receipts were up more than 60% from 2012, when the dismal openings of Rock of Ages and That’s My Boy gave Madagascar 3 its second week on top. Next weekend Man of Steel will face both World War Z and the Pixar sequel Monsters University. Pixar has the clear advantage here – the studio hasn’t opened a movie under $60 million since 2007. and family audiences have been starved of content this summer The real mystery is how well Man of Steel will hold in its second frame.

monsters-university-poster

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