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.


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.