×

‘Man of Steel’ Takes Flight With June Record $125 Mil Debut

R-rated comedy 'This Is the End' also does well with $33 mil in five days

It had a lot to live up to, and “Man of Steel” certainly didn’t disappoint. The Warner Bros.-Legendary Pictures superhero reboot scored a whopping $125 million Stateside debut, the biggest-ever opening in June, with an additional $71.6 million from overseas.

SEE ALSO: Is Henry Cavill headed for Hollywood stardom?

Warners projects that “Man of Steel” actually made $113 million from Friday to Sunday, making it the 18th largest opening of all time, behind 2007’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” ($114.7 million). The additional $12 million for “Man of Steel” comes from late-night grosses Thursday.

“Man of Steel” bowed day-and-date in 24 international markets this weekend, including just three major territories — the U.K., Mexico and South Korea. Blighty easily led the charge, contributing $17.1 million, while Mexico and Korea followed, with $9.8 million and $8.8 million, respectively.

SEE ALSO: “Man of Steel” – Film Review

Sony, meanwhile, made a savvy counterprogramming move launching R-rated raunch fest “This Is the End” on Wednesday. The film, which cost just $32 million to produce, grossed an estimated $32.8 million in five days, of which $20.5 million came Friday-Sunday.

The one-two punch from the opening pics helped Stateside box office surge past the same frame last year by approximately 50%. Box office is expected to stay strong on Sunday because of Father’s Day.

Among the weekend’s holdovers, Lionsgate-Summit’s sturdy little film “Now You See Me” grossed $10.3 million, down just 46% in its third frame, for a domestic cume of $80 million. Universal’s “Fast and Furious 6” dropped 52% in its fourth frame, grossing $9.4 million. The pic has totaled $219.6 million domestically.

Dropping like a rock in its second outing, Universal’s “The Purge” fell 76% for a three-day estimate of $8.2 million. But the film cost just $3 million to produce and has already grossed an outstanding $51.8 million domestically.

At the specialty box office, Sony Pictures Classics’ “Before Midnight” totaled $1.5 million during its first nationwide push at 897 locations, bringing the pic’s domestic cume to $3.2 million. And Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” via A24 averaged a solid $42,000 per-screen in its debut frame at five theaters.

Heavy-duty ‘Steel’

As far as franchise reboots go, “Man of Steel,” which received an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore, ranks as one of the best, especially compared to other superhero pics like “Batman Begins,” which opened to $48.7 million this same weekend in 2005, and “Superman Returns,” with its $52.5 million opening a year later.

Observers suggest Warners played its cards just right with “Man of Steel,” allowing the film’s marketing campaign to build slowly leading up to opening weekend. “This is as a well-paced and executed campaign as I’ve seen in a long time,” said one exhibition exec.

In fact, first-choice levels among audiences were at their highest on Friday, a rare achievement for major tentpoles like “Steel,” which usually peak a week before the actual release.

The question now is whether the $225 million-budgeted “Man of Steel” can keep the momentum going.

Dan Fellman, prexy of domestic distribution for Warners, said he expects the film to soar past $300 million domestically with students on summer break.

“What was very important for us was to have a good CinemaScore,” Fellman said, adding that the individual audience segments rated the film consistently with its overall grade. “That to me is a very strong indicator of good word-of-mouth.”

The film played solidly at all times throughout the weekend, meaning it scored enough family auds to keep matinee showtimes full. That bodes well for Stateside playability as this month’s lone remaining family release is Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters University.”

And while Warners’ campaign for “Man of Steel” appropriately targeted its core (and at the right time), the studio chose not to market the film as a 3D event — a fact that played out in the numbers, with 3D grossing just 41% of the opening, of which Imax contributed 12%.

The 3D format will have its greatest opportunity for success overseas. Warners expands the film to 27 more territories next weekend, including blue-chip 3D markets, Russia and China.

‘End’ marks solid beginning

Sony’s “This Is the End,” from co-directors Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, who also stars with Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson and Jonah Hill, marks the first in this summer’s apocalyptic-themed comedy line-up including Focus Features’ “The World’s End” and Lionsgate’s “Rapture-Palooza.”

The ensemble laffer also is part of an overall (post) doomsday trend with such recent pics as “Oblivion” and “After Earth,” as well as upcoming movies including “World War Z” and “Elysium.”

“This Is the End” benefited more from its “Where’s Waldo”-concept of comedy stars playing themselves, especially with men, which contributed 60% of the opening gross. Not surprisingly, the R-rated film skewed more toward 0ver-25 auds, with 52%.

Where the film ends up is a tough call as it’s difficult to gauge just how strong word-of-mouth will be for the film based solely on opening weekend. That said, Sony distribution topper Rory Bruer said he is confident the film will develop strong legs. Pic received a so-so ‘B+’ Cinemascore, however.

Domestic

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-theater average; Cume*; Percentage change

  1. Man of Steel (1): $113.1; 4,207; $26,879; $125.1; —
  2. This Is the End (1): $20.5; 3,055; $6,710; $32.8; —
  3. Now You See Me (3): $10.3; 3,082; $3,348; $80.0; -46%
  4. Fast and Furious 6 (4): $9.4; 3,375; $2,795; $219.6; -52%
  5. The Purge (2): $8.2; 2,591; $3,165; $51.8; -76%
  6. The Internship (2): $7.0; 3,399; $2,059; $31.0; -60%
  7. Epic (4): $6.0; 3,151; $1,904; $95.4; -50%
  8. Star Trek Into Darkness (5): $5.7; 2,331; $2,428; $210.5; -51%
  9. After Earth (3): $3.8; 2,432; $1,542; $54.2; -65%
  10. Iron Man 3 (7): $2.9; 1,649; $1,763; $399.6; -50%

Overseas

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Territories; Screens; Int’l cume*; Global cume*; Percentage change

  1. Man of Steel (1): $71.6; 24; 9,730; $71.6; $196.7; —
  2. After Earth (3): $24.0; 50; 7,665; $91.1; $145.3; -47%
  3. Fast and Furious 6 (4): $20.0; 62; 7,900; $417.3; $636.9; -54%
  4. The Hangover Part III (4): $17.5; 56; 6,410; $201.8; $309.8; -49%
  5. Star Trek Into Darkness (6): $17.0; 57; 7,795; $201.7; $412.2; +5%

*in millions of $

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Issa Rae Portrait

    Issa Rae Developing Re-Imagining of Crime Thriller 'Set It Off'

    “Insecure” star and co-creator Issa Rae is in early development on a re-imagining of New Line’s crime thriller “Set If Off,” which starred Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica Fox and Kimberly Elise. Rae will produce with plans to star in the project. Syreeta Singleton and Nina Gloster have been hired to pen the script. [...]

  • Thomas Golubic8th Annual Guild of Music

    Guild of Music Supervisors President: 'The Economics of the Job Don't Work Anymore'

    The Guild of Music Supervisors (GMS) hosted its 5th annual “State of Music in Media” conference on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Los Angeles Film School. Featuring a wide array of panel discussions on all manner of issues related to music in film, television and advertising, the confab drew top composers, music supervisors, licensing and [...]

  • Gay Chorus Deep South

    Film News Roundup: Documentary 'Gay Chorus Deep South' Bought for Awards Season Release

    In today’s film news roundup, the documentaries “Gay Chorus Deep South” and “Tread” find homes, Tobin Bell’s latest horror film completes production and Emilio Insolera joins “355.” ACQUISITIONS MTV Documentary Films has acquired “Gay Chorus Deep South” for release during the fall for awards season consideration. Directed by David Charles Rodrigues, the film world premiered [...]

  • Bad Education

    What 'Bad Education' Taught Us About the Slow Toronto Film Festival Market

    “Bad Education,” a dramedy starring Hugh Jackman as the embezzling superintendent of district of schools in Long Island, N.Y., was set to be this year’s “I, Tonya.” The movie has the same biting tone, shifting between comedy and tragedy. It received strong reviews out of the Toronto Film Festival. And like “I, Tonya,” it even [...]

  • For web story

    Toronto: Sony Pictures Classics Buys 'The Burnt Orange Heresy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sony Pictures Classics has nabbed the rights to “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” Variety has learned. The indie label plans to release the film in 2020. The Italian-American thriller was directed by Giuseppe Capotondi and stars Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki, Mick Jagger and Donald Sutherland. Scott Smith adapted Charles Willeford’s novel of the same name, transporting [...]

  • Thomasin McKenzie and Essie Davis

    Thomasin McKenzie and Essie Davis to Star in 'Justice of Bunny King'

    Essie Davis, star of “The Babadook” and autumn festival hit “Babyteeth,” and “Jojo Rabbit” co-star Thomasin McKenzie will headline upcoming drama “The Justice of Bunny King.” The film, now shooting in New Zealand, is a triumph over adversity tale about women fighting their way back from the bottom of society. It is the debut feature [...]

  • Calm With Horses

    Nick Rowland Talks About Toronto Debut Film 'Calm With Horses'

    “Calm with Horses,” which made its world premiere in Toronto’s TIFF in the Discovery section, is the feature directorial debut of Nick Rowland (Amazon series “Ripper Street”), and stars Barry Keoghan (Marvel’s upcoming “The Eternals,” “Dunkirk”), Cosmo Jarvis (“Annihilation”), and Niamh Algar (BBC’s “The Virtues”). The script, which was adapted from Colin Barrett’s short story [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content