Weekend Box Office (June 14 - 16, 2013)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Superman was reborn at the box office as the big-budget gamble Man of Steel paid off handsomely with a spectacular opening weekend in North America plus impressive launches overseas in only a portion of the international marketplace. The Warner Bros. summer tentpole grossed $116.6M domestically breaking the record for the biggest June opening ever, according to final studio figures. Adding in $12.1M from Thursday night group sales led by Walmart's promotion for 7:00pm shows the total stood at a stellar $128.7M. The Friday-to-Sunday portion for the PG-13 film averaged a muscular $27,720 from 4,207 theaters including 331 IMAX screens. Toy Story 3 held the June record since 2010 with $110.3M.

The 3.5-day performance exceeded the extended seven-day holiday opening of 2006's reboot Superman Returns which amounted to $108.1M during the week leading up to Independence Day. That mega-budgeted film eventually inched its way into the double century club ending with $200.1M but was seen as a creative and commercial disappointment which failed to lead to a new franchise being born. The new reboot may match the last one's gross by the end of next weekend.

Man of Steel was directed by Zack Snyder with Henry Cavill taking on the title role and also featured an Oscar-caliber cast including Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon and Laurence Fishburne. Christopher Nolan, who successfully rebooted the Batman franchise for the studio, produced Steel and lent much to the box office pull of the film. After getting the origin story out of the way in 2005's Batman Begins, grosses soared even higher for the next two chapters leading to a $2.5 billion global trilogy so it was crucial for Warner Bros. to relaunch Superman in a way that brought in the masses.

Reviews were mixed but paying audiences gave the super hero flick an encouraging A- grade from CinemaScore. Friday debuted to $44.1M including $9M in midnight shows. Saturday fell an understandable 17% to $36.4M while Sunday was remarkable grossing virtually the same amount with $36.3M thanks to the Father's Day holiday. Much of the film's story involves Superman's two dads from Krypton and Earth and how they molded him.

Studio research showed that Man of Steel skewed towards men as expected with 56% being male. But that made for a better female turnout than usual for a comic book pic. Iron Man 3 and Avengers were both 61% male and last summer's Spider-Man reboot played 58% male. The stronger cross-gender appeal could allow it to play well over the coming weeks especially with the Fourth of July holiday around the corner.

3,350 theaters offered a 3D option with those screens accounting for 41% of the gross. With conversions, even for effects-driven action pictures, audiences nowadays typically prefer the original 2D version at regular prices instead. IMAX venues contributed 12% of the total gross with $13.3M and a sturdy average of $40,181 since Thursday night. Tickets cost as much as $21.50 to experience Man of Steel in IMAX 3D in New York City. Massive cross-promotions with brand partners helped to drive in business too for the event film.

The international launch for Man of Steel was quite strong even though many top markets open later. The weekend saw $73.3M from 25 markets led by the U.K., Mexico, and Korea which were the only majors to open this week. 27 new countries will launch next weekend including key territories like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and China so Man of Steel has much more ahead this summer. But so far, the first weekend delivered a robust $202M in global sales.

Opening far behind in second place was the new doomsday comedy This is the End with $20.7M over three days and $33M since its launch on Tuesday night with 7:00pm shows. It was a respectable opening for the Sony release especially considering the distraction Clark Kent had over the target audience of young men. Playing in 3,055 locations, the raunchy R-rated comedy starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill and Jay Baruchel averaged $6,782 over the Friday-to-Sunday period. The full gross was below the $41.3M five-day debut of Pineapple Express in August 2008 which was from many of the same team members.

Reviews were very solid for End but the CinemaScore grade was a B+ which is commendable, not glowing. The road ahead features plenty of new action movies which will continue to lure in young men so it will not be easy. But Rogen and company hope that word-of-mouth will help it reach many more moviegoers over the weeks ahead, especially those who want a rowdy laugh and are all actioned out. Studio research showed that the crowd was 60% male and 52% over 25. With a $32M production budget and marketing costs not in the same league as summer tentpoles, the comedy should turn out to be a moneymaker regardless of how it plays overseas.

Holding steady in third place was Lionsgate's heist thriller Now You See Me with $11M, down 42%, for a robust cume to date of $80.7M. Now the top-grossing installment of the franchise, Universal's Fast & Furious 6 followed with $9.6M dropping 51% pushing the domestic tally to a muscular $219.7M. Worldwide, it's also the highest-grossing Furious flick with a total now of $637M and still growing.

Last week's top film The Purge got beaten down tumbling a frightening 76% to $8.3M. The micro-budgeted $3M pic has nonetheless raked in a healthy $52M in ten days for Universal. The Fox comedy The Internship fell a troubling 59% in its second weekend to $7.1M putting the Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson pic at a disappointing $31.1M.

Dropping 47% to $6.3M in its fourth round was the animated film Epic which has collected $95.7M to date for Fox. Star Trek Into Darkness followed with $6.3M as well, off 45%, for an impressive $211.1M for Paramount.

The summer's most notable flop so far, Will Smith's critically panned father-son sci-fi adventure After Earth, crumbled 62% to $4.1M for a lousy $54.5M cume to date for the pricey $130M gamble. Flirting with the quadruple century mark, Iron Man 3 rounded out the top ten with $3M in its seventh weekend, down 49%. Disney has grossed $399.7M to date and $1.2 billion globally.

The top ten films grossed $193M which was up a stellar 60% from last year when Madagascar 3 remained at number one with $34.1M; and up 33% from 2011 when Green Lantern debuted in the top spot with $53.2M.

Compared to projections, Man of Steel soared much higher than my $84M forecast while This Is the End was close to my five-day prediction of $36M.

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Watch the NEW trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

For a NEW review of Man of Steel visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when World War Z and Monsters University both open.

# Title Jun 14 - 16 Jun 7 - 9 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Man of Steel $ 116,619,362 4,207 1 $ 27,720 $ 128,681,486 Warner Bros.
2 This is the End 20,719,162 3,055 1 6,782 33,027,297 Sony
3 Now You See Me 11,016,473 19,040,890 -42.1 3,082 3 3,574 80,705,916 Lionsgate
4 Fast & Furious 6 9,583,330 19,626,885 -51.2 3,375 4 2,840 219,723,955 Universal
5 The Purge 8,317,995 34,058,360 -75.6 2,591 2 3,210 51,962,845 Universal
6 The Internship 7,148,551 17,325,307 -58.7 3,399 2 2,103 31,099,912 Fox
7 Epic 6,284,905 11,876,003 -47.1 3,151 4 1,995 95,713,528 Fox
8 Star Trek Into Darkness 6,256,254 11,425,755 -45.2 2,331 5 2,684 211,086,948 Paramount
9 After Earth 4,052,042 10,712,240 -62.2 2,432 3 1,666 54,516,057 Sony
10 Iron Man 3 2,956,855 5,753,661 -48.6 1,649 7 1,793 399,659,094 Disney
11 The Hangover Part III 2,782,149 7,343,414 -62.1 1,901 4 1,464 108,032,701 Warner Bros.
12 The Great Gatsby 1,674,333 4,222,409 -60.3 1,175 6 1,425 139,977,874 Warner Bros.
13 Before Midnight 1,382,719 526,419 162.7 897 4 1,541 3,054,968 Sony Classics
14 42 606,121 364,175 66.4 444 10 1,365 93,701,489 Warner Bros.
15 The Croods 570,353 724,969 -21.3 368 13 1,550 182,651,450 Fox
16 Mud 539,078 1,147,633 -53.0 405 8 1,331 19,563,103 Roadside Attr.
17 Frances Ha 293,566 545,715 -46.2 212 5 1,385 2,876,732 IFC
18 The East 287,955 228,561 26.0 115 3 2,504 709,260 Fox Searchlight
19 Oz the Great and Powerful 244,191 374,964 -34.9 259 15 943 234,176,728 Disney
20 The Bling Ring 212,537 5 1 42,507 212,537 A24
Top 5 $ 166,256,322 $ 101,927,445 63.1
Top 10 192,954,929 141,384,924 36.5
Top 20 201,547,931 146,560,914 37.5
Top 20 vs. 2012 201,547,931 126,797,603 59.0

Last Updated: June 17, 2013 at 4:10PM ET

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