Weekend Report: 'Man of Steel' Soars, Scores New June Record
by Ray Subers
June 16, 2013
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Man of Steel was one of the most-anticipated movie events of the year, and from a box office perspective it did not disappoint.
Through Sunday, Man of Steel earned a fantastic $128.6 million—$116.6 million during the traditional Friday-to-Sunday period, and another $12 million from Thursday night group sales. That's the second-best opening of 2013 so far behind Iron Man 3, and it's a new record for highest opening ever in June ahead of Toy Story 3 ($110.3 million). The official three-day figure of $116.6 million ranks second all-time among non-sequels behind The Hunger Games.
Man of Steel also performed well compared to 2006's Superman Returns. That movie opened on a Wednesday and earned $84.6 million through its first five days. Adjusting for ticket price inflation, that would come out to $102.5 million, or noticeably lower than Man of Steel's $128.6 million haul so far.
In need of a major franchise to fill the void left by Harry Potter and The Dark Knight, Warner Bros. put their all in to making sure Man of Steel was a hit. As far as franchise reboots go, they started in a good place: while Superman is immensely popular, audiences have largely forgotten about Superman Returns, and therefore Man of Steel never faced the same kind of skepticism that surrounded The Amazing Spider-Man last year.
From there, the movie itself wound up being extremely marketable, and the Warner Bros. team pushed on all the right buttons over the past few months. Producer Christopher Nolan and director Zack Snyder both have an established track record with comic book material, and their association was a major part of the advertising. It was also made clear that this was an origin story—no prior knowledge needed—that had high stakes and a strong focus on character. Finally, the strong visuals and hints of large-scale action sealed the deal. With all of these qualities clearly on display in the previews, Man of Steel was able to transcend standard superhero movies and become a major movie-going event.
Man of Steel's audience was heavy on men (56 percent), and age information was not provided. 3D accounted for 41 percent of sales, which made this another unimpressive weekend for the format. Meanwhile, IMAX accounted for 12 percent—most of that is included in the 3D figure, though there were some IMAX 2D showings as well.
While critics weren't thrilled with Man of Steel—it's currently rotten on Rotten Tomatoes—audience for the most part seemed to dig it. With an "A-" CinemaScore suggesting solid word-of-mouth, Man of Steel should hang on well over the next few weeks. At this point, a final total north of $300 million is likely, while $350 million could also be doable.
In a distant second place, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's apocalypse comedy This is the End earned $33 million through its first five days ($20.7 million for the three-day weekend). That figure is noticeably lower than Pineapple Express ($41.3 million), and also off from Tropic Thunder ($36.8 million). Still, it's a good start for a modestly-budgeted movie in which the "stars play themselves" set-up could theoretically have been a turnoff for casual moviegoers.
The audience was 60 percent male and 48 percent under the age of 25, and they gave the movie a decent "B+" CinemaScore. Anecdotally, at least, it seems like This is the End is getting very good word-of-mouth, and it should provide good counterprogramming over the next few weeks. Ultimately, $100 million is in reach, though it will likely wind up a bit below that.
Now You See Me had the best hold in the Top 12, and managed to actually stay in the Top 3 this weekend: the magician thriller dipped 42 percent to $11 million for a new total of $80.7 million. It's now likely that the movie will close over $100 million, which is a great result for what's arguably the surprise hit of the Summer so far.
In fourth place, Fast & Furious 6 fell 51 percent to $9.6 million. It's already the highest-grossing entry in the Fast franchise with $219.7 million, and should wind up close to $240 million by the end of its run.
After starting strong in first place last weekend, The Purge plummeted 76 percent to $8.3 million this weekend. That's a very steep drop, even by horror movie standards—it ranks 25th all-time, and is almost identical to the second weekend declines of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D and The Devil Inside. Through 10 days The Purge has earned just under $52 million.
The Internship fared a bit better than The Purge, but also had it pretty rough: the Google comedy dropped 59 percent to $7.1 million, which is a horrific dip for a comedy. That poor hold is due in part to lukewarm word-of-mouth, but also due to very unfortunately scheduling—going against box office behemoth Man of Steel and R-rated comedy This is the End probably wasn't the best decision.
After three weeks in limited release, Before Midnight expanded nationwide to 897 theaters and earned $1.38 million. With $3.05 million total so far, it's still very possible that Before Midnight tops its predecessors ($5.5 million and $5.8 million), though it won't be by much.
Aside from its great domestic debut, Man of Steel also cruised to new heights overseas this weekend. The movie opened to $71.6 million in 24 markets, only three of which are considered major. The movie earned a strong $17.1 million in the U.K., which is just a little bit less than Iron Man 3's debut there. It also took in $9.8 million in Mexico—slightly under Dark Knight Rises—and $8.8 million in South Korea.
It performed even better in some smaller markets. In the Phillippines, for example, it had the third-highest opening ever at $5.6 million, and it had Warner Bros. top debut ever in Malyasia ($3.05 million) and the United Arab Emirates ($2 million).
Man of Steel expands in to France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and China next weekend—if it does similarly strong business in those markets, an overseas gross north of $500 million is likely.
In its second weekend, After Earth fell 47 percent to $24 million. To date, the Will Smith/Jaden Smith sci-fi adventure has earned $91.1 million, which is unimpressive considering it's out in nearly all foreign markets already. It expands in to Japan next weekend, and will likely reach China as well at some point.
Fast & Furious 6 added $20 million for a new total of $417.3 million, which is a franchise record ahead of Fast Five's $416 million. It's also now set a Universal Pictures record in Latin America with $94 million. Fast 6 still has Japan and China on the way in July, and should ultimately wind up with more than $500 million overseas.
The Hangover Part III and Star Trek Into Darkness both passed $200 million overseas this weekend. Hangover hit that mark thanks to holdovers, while Trek got there on decent debuts in France ($3.5 million), Brazil ($3.1 million) and Italy ($1.5 million).
Already a hit at the domestic box office, Now You See Me started to show serious strength overseas this weekend as well. The movie earned $15.6 million, most of which came from a great $10.2 million debut in Russia. So far it's grossed $27.7 million, and it still has debuts in the U.K., Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain and France to look forward to.
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This Weekend in Past Years:
• 2012 - Circus Afros Beat 80s Hairdos
• 2011 - 'Green Lantern' Not the Brightest Bulb
• 2010 - Pixar Pounds Its 'Toy' Chest
• 2009 - Lush 'Hangover,' 'Up' Linger Over Typical 'Taking'
• 2007 - 'Fantastic' Sequel Storms Top Spot
• 2006 - Flagging 'Cars' Pins Chipper 'Nacho'
• 2005 - 'Batman Begins' in the Shadows
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All-Time Domestic