Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it is the soaring success of the new Superman franchise, Man of Steel, which proved Clark Kent is still faster than a speeding bullet to take $196.7 million (£125 million) at the box office in less than three days.
The Warner Bros. superhero film, which opened on Friday, earned $113 million on its debut weekend in America alone, earning an additional $12 million from late-night Thursday screenings, bringing its domestic total to $125 million. It has already exceeded original forecasts from analysts who predicted total box office takings from $75 million to $130 million.
Man of Steel garnered £11.2 million from cinemas in the UK and Ireland. Outside of America it garnered $71.6 million, bringing its global total to $196.7 million.
“We’re thrilled at the tremendous response we’ve seen from audiences to Zack
Snyder’s exciting new vision of the iconic Super Hero,” said
Warner Bros UK's managing director and president Josh Berger.
"They finally got the Superman formula right," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "Superhero movies really are the bread and butter of the summer box office. The fact that Iron Man 3 has the biggest opening of the year so far and Man of Steel has the second biggest opening of the year just proves that."
Man of Steel, which stars British actor Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane, also toppled the record for biggest opening in June held by the Disney-Pixar film Toy Story 3, which banked $110 million when it opened in 2010. Superman Returns, the previous Superman film starring Brandon Routh in the titular role, launched with a respectable $52.5 million in 2006.
Sony's This Is the End opened in second place behind Man of Steel with $20.5 million in its opening weekend. The comedy starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson as versions of themselves trapped in a mansion during the apocalypse opened on Wednesday, earning a domestic total of $32.8 million. The film cost just $32 million to produce.
"We knew we were going to have competition, but we felt our movie stood on its own and had its own voice," said Rory Bruer, Sony's president of worldwide distribution. "I believe we've absolutely proven that. To have this amount of money in the bank with its cost of production, good reviews and word of mouth really puts our feet on solid ground."
In its third weekend at the box office, the Lionsgate illusionist heist film Now You See Me garnered $10.3 million to take third place, bringing its total domestic haul to $80 million. Universal's Fast & Furious 6 arrived in fourth place with $9.4 million, while the studio's invasion horror film The Purge starring Ethan Hawke scared up $8.2 million in the fifth spot.
The super openings of Man of Steel and This Is the End helped to lift the box office 50 per cent year-on-year compared to when Madagascar 3 and Prometheus held on to the top spots. Man of Steel will face off against stiff competition next week when Paramount's zombie thriller World War Z and the Disney-Pixar's prequel Monster's University both debut.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theatres, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.
1. "Man of Steel," $113 million.
2. "This Is the End," $20.5 million.
3. "Now You See Me," $10.3 million.
4. "Fast & Furious 6," $9.4 million.
5. "The Purge," $8.2 million.
6. "The Internship," $7 million.
7. "Epic," $6 million.
8. "Star Trek: Into Darkness," $5.6 million.
9. "After Earth," $3.7 million.
10. "Iron Man 3," $2.9 million.