WB blockbuster eyes $125 million opening

UPDATE: According to early estimates, Warner Bros.’ Superman remake could gross as much as $50 million on its first day of release for a spectacular $125 million weekend– that’s much higher than the industry’s projected $90 million-$100 million debut for Legendary’s 3D blockbuster, as well as WB’s own modest estimates ($80 million-plus). Produced by Christopher Nolan, “Man of Steel” is the second-largest opening weekend of the year behind Disney/Marvel’s “Iron Man 3″ ($174.6 million). Despite a 58% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes, the classic superhero represented 85% of Fandango’s ticket sales on Friday and is apparently being met with higher praise from moviegoers than critics.

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Superman has officially taken flight at the U.S. box office.

According to Warner Bros., “Man of Steel” earned a resounding $21 million in latenight screenings Thursday, including $12 million from a special 7 p.m. ticket package through Walmart.

One of the most heavily marketed films in recent memory, Warner Bros.’ Superman reboot is expected to earn between $90 million and $100 million through the weekend, although the studio is being much more modest with its low $80 millions estimate.

SEE ALSO: “Man of Steel” – Film Review

“Man of Steel’s” $21 million surpasses the midnight hauls of both “Iron Man 3″ earlier this year ($15.6 million) and “The Avengers” in 2012 ($18.7 million) but below Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” which earned over $30 million in latenight runs last July.

Internationally, the 3D actioner bows day-and-date in 24 markets, including South Korea, Mexico and the U.K. The WB/Legendary pic bowed Wednesday in the Philippines, where it scored a record-setting opening day gross of $1.7 million (or 90% of the local market share).

Zack Snyder’s $225 million tentpole, starring Henry Cavill, opens across 4,207 locations Friday.

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