Box Office: Man Of Steel Dominates With $113 Million Weekend – 4th Best Non-Sequel Opening Ever


After playing General Zod, Michael Shannon will next play the Big, Bad Wolf.
Just look at what big eyes he has.

Superman was definitely faster than a speeding bullet this weekend. And if audience reaction mirrored what I heard during a matinee on Father’s Day, it could very well be a box office locomotive in the coming weeks. For most of the year, Warner Bros. has been waiting for the monster hit. They had a flash this summer with The Great Gatsby (which has made $300 million worldwide!) to help make up for a poor spring release slate (which included Beautiful Creatures, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Jack the Giant Slayer). As much as I wanted MoS to open at $140 million and above, I can’t complain about a $113 million opening that came seven years after the studio last tried to resurrect the original superhero in Superman Returns. The combination of Zack Snyder as director and Christopher Nolan’s shepherding influence definitely intrigued those who were skeptical at the idea of Superman in a post-9/11 world (as opposed to the Norman Rockwellian type we got with Richard Donner’s Superman). The $113 million opening was a new record for the month of June. Man of Steel unseated Pixar’s Toy Story 3 to take the record; the film also became the 18th opening in general of all time, and 4th for non-sequel openings. Also for comparison, spots #2 – #10 in the top ten made a combined $73.65 million overall. With Warner Bros. pushing 3D presentations hard, MoS made a little more than 40% of its total earnings from 3D theaters.

What does surprise me is the split amongst critics on how this new take of Superman is being perceived. Granted, it’s heavy on science-fiction which was unexpected, but it does a much stronger job at handling it than the science-action of the Star Trek sequel we got a few weeks ago, which was basically a character reversal of the much superior Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. As Scott put it in his spoiler review of Man of Steel, when remarking about why Zack Synder’s vision works as well as it does:

Superman has always been about hope. It’s the one thing the prior films have never been able to capitalize on; Superman has been a hero that’s never been truly developed on the big screen because it’s a difficult character to make vulnerable. Superman is nigh invulnerable, can fly with super strength (among others). Making him vulnerable is something that’s difficult but making him sympathetic is something that really hasn’t happened until now.

Considering how cynical the world has become with governmental impropriety and consumption of natural resources, if anything the demise of Krypton seems metaphorical in a sense. We need a Superman on Earth more than ever.

With Man of Steel dominating the weekend, anything that followed would be easily forgettable. Taking second place with $20.5 million was the meta-apocalypse comedy This Is the End. If judging it purely on the basis of being a restricted comedy that’s directional aim for jokes is all over the place (thankfully hitting more than missing), then look no further. A true laugh-a-minute riot with the likes of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Jay Baruchel, and Danny McBride playing fictional versions of themselves along with a massive string of cameos. With a $32 million budget it is likely to continue some fringe box office success as one of those films that makes a tidy sum by the time it leaves the top 10 only to become a bigger hit on DVD and Blu-ray.

The bronze winner with $10.3 million was Now You See Me. Of films currently in the top 10, it had the lowest drop in attendance, only down 46% in revenue. Don’t look know but internationally Fast & Furious 6 has topped $400 million to bring its worldwide total to $636.9 million. That’s good enough to make it the second-highest grossing film of the year behind Iron Man 3. After surprising box office prognosticators last weekend, The Purge had a sharp drop, 76% down in revenue with $8.2 million this weekend after a three-day opening of $34 million. This is par the course for horror releases. Opening weekend to recoup production and ad costs, then use the remaining weeks in theaters to ride the gravy train a little while longer.

As if we needed a reason to spend money to see a two-hour Google commercial, The Internship pulled $7 million to finish in sixth place. It appears we’ve answered the question if lightning can strike the same place twice. The stars of the 2005 hit Wedding Crashers, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, are eight years older but none the wiser. As the only kid-friendly option in the marketplace, Epic is still in the top ten with $6 million. But with the arrival of Monsters University this weekend and Despicable Me 2 in two weeks. The rest of the top ten sees the poorly received After Earth wedged in between two May holdovers, Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3, which has spent seven weeks in the top ten (and should be passing $400 million domestic any day now).

In limited release, Sofia Coppola’s poorly titled The Bling Ring opened in five theaters and took in $210k. Such an opening makes it her most successful opening weekend release since Lost in Translation. The backup singer doc, 20 Feet From Stardom, played at three locations and made $52k. Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing expanded from five theaters to 23 to collect $162.5k. Finally, my documentary recommendation for the June, Dirty Wars made $50.4k at 12 theaters (expanding from four last weekend). Lots of variety playing in the theaters. So if you have the means, do seek out some of the smaller releases. Aside from these few limited releases, The Kings of Summer, Mud, Before Midnight and The East are also good choices should they be playing near you.

Weekend Box-Office Top Ten for June 14 – June 16, 2013

1. Man of Steel (Warner Bros.) – $113 MILLION ($125 mil. cume)

2. This Is the End (Sony) – $20.5 MILLION ($32.8 mil. cume)

3. Now You See Me (Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment) – $10.3 MILLION ($80 mil. cume)

4. Fast & Furious 6 (Universal) – $9.4 MILLION ($219.5 mil. cume)

5. The Purge (Universal) – $8.2 MILLION ($51.8 mil. cume)

6. The Internship (Fox) – $7 MILLION ($30.9 mil. cume)

7. Epic (Fox) – $6 MILLION ($95.4 mil. cume)

8. Star Trek: Into Darkness (Paramount) – $5.6 MILLION ($210 mil. cume)

9. After Earth (Sony Pictures) – $3.75 MILLION ($54.2 mil. cume)

10. Iron Man 3 (Disney) – $2.9 MILLION ($399.6 mil. cume)

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