Faster than a speeding bullet, Warner Bros.’ $225 million franchise reboot Man of Steel has become a box office behemoth.
The superhero film began its run with a massive $125.1 million ($113.1 million over the traditional weekend, $12 million from corporate screening programs on Thursday), breaking the record for the biggest June opening weekend ever, ahead of Toy Story 3‘s $110.3 million bow in 2010. Among 2013 films, Man of Steel had the second best debut of the year behind Iron Man 3, which started with $174.1 million in May.
Man of Steel garnered a fantastic $29,731 per theater average from its 4,207 locations. The film grossed $13.3 million in IMAX theaters, and 41% of its business came from 3D ticket sales. Audiences were 56 percent male and 44 percent female, a more even gender distribution than Iron Man 3, which had a 61/39 percent male/female split on opening weekend. The dashing looks of Henry Cavill (and Amy Adams’ appeal) no doubt helped Man of Steel play well with women. Reviews were mixed, but crowds issued the film a strong “A-” CinemaScore.
For Cavill, Adams, and the rest of the cast — which includes Russell Crowe, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Shannon — Man of Steel became their best ever opening weekend. The same goes for director Zack Snyder, who formerly saw gigantic numbers when 300 bowed with $70.9 million in 2007.
The news couldn’t be better for Warner Bros., which — with the exceptions of The Great Gatsby and 42 — has badly struggled at the box office in 2013. Films like Jack the Giant Slayer, The Hangover Part III, Beautiful Creatures, Bullet to the Head, and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone have massively under-performed at the box office, so Man of Steel‘s success is a welcome change. “We’re thrilled,” says Dan Fellman, the studio’s president of domestic distribution, “and it will fly through the summer. We’re going to have legs on this film.”
Fellman also notes that Man of Steel‘s success brings Warner Bros. and DC Comics one step closer to creating a Justice League franchise that might rival Marvel/Disney’s Avengers. The exec wouldn’t confirm whether Henry Cavill has already been contracted to star in Justice League films, though he did coyly remark, “Henry will be around for a while.”
Internationally, Man of Steel soared with $71.6 million in its first weekend, including $17.6 million in the United Kingdom and $9.8 million in Mexico. The film has yet to open in a number of large markets, but it’s already clear that it will easily outdo Superman Returns $191 million international haul.
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