With $113 million over the weekend and another $12 million from Thursday screenings, “Man of Steel” racked up $125 million in total in its first few days in theaters, not only setting the June record but giving Warner Brothers the potential for a lucrative new franchise. Also hitting theaters was “This is the End,” an R-rated comedy that brought in a steady $20 million over the weekend and $32.80 million including Wednesday and Thursday. It wasn’t all good news for the topmovies in theaters, though, as “The Purge” plummeted a surprising 76% from its chart-topping opening, suggesting that it was definitely a one-weekend wonder.
But the weekend was all about “Man of Steel,” the $225 million production from Warner Brothers. After Warner Brothers struggled to get Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns” off the ground back in 2006, they started from scratch with a brand new look for the iconic superhero, and so far it seems that the strategy has paid off. “Man of Steel” broke the June record briefly held by “Toy Story 3” on a per theater average of nearly $27,000, suggesting a very high level of audience support.
Yet even with strong early numbers, “Man of Steel” still has a long way to go before it can justify its steep budget and meet its enormous expectations. “Man of Steel” will have to compete with a steady string of major action releases over the next few weeks, testing the level of fan involvement in the process. Not only does “Man of Steel” need to post some big domestic numbers throughout the rest of June, but it also needs to sell quite a few tickets overseas if it’s going to end up as one of the top grossing films of the year.
So far, early international numbers are decent, with $71 million in foreign revenue over the weekend to push its worldwide total close to $200 million. With releases in China, Japan, France, Germany and many other big markets still on the horizon, we’ll know a lot more about its overall box office outlook in the next couple of weeks.
While action audiences scooped up tickets to see “Man of Steel,” many comedy-seekers ended up finding their way into R-rated comedy “This is the End.” With strong critical buzz and a popular cast including Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, “This is the End” saw strong opening figures, earning more than $6,700 per site over the weekend and posting good overall numbers back on Wednesday and Thursday as well. “This is the End” won’t have as much genre competition as “Man of Steel” over the next few weekends, opening the door for it to post some decent numbers from now until the end of the month.
As “Man of Steel” and “This is the End” found their target demographics, it looks like “The Purge” has worn out its welcome. After surging to a stunning $34 million, chart-topping opening just a week ago, “The Purge” took a nosedive in its second weekend, dipping a rare 76% to finish with just $8.20 million in revenue. For a $3 million production, a $51.85 million 10-day domestic total is still very good, but it doesn’t seem that “The Purge” will have much sway with audiences moving forward and it should see a steep drop in screenings by next weekend.
The weekend was also likely the last time that “After Earth” makes it to the top 10 after a very weak box office performance thus far. With a production budget of $130 million, “After Earth” has managed just $54.20 million domestically since its May 31 release, making it easily Will Smith’s biggest box office dud in the process; even Smith’s “Wild, Wild West” overcame disastrous critical reviews to earn $113 million in the U.S., the equivalent to $177 million in 2013 revenue. Look for “After Earth” to continue its quick descent and to be out of theaters fairly soon.
Next weekend, the box office should get another boost with the release of two major releases aimed at different demographics. After the success of “Monsters, Inc.” more than a decade ago, animation studio Pixar will launch prequel “Monsters University,” which should have no problem finding a very wide family audience from June well into July. Also hitting theaters will be “World War Z,” an apocalyptic thriller starring Brad Pitt that is already gathering some decent critical buzz heading into its opening.
Early Studio Box Office Estimates for 6/14/13 – 6/16/13 (in millions):
1) Man of Steel (Warner Brothers): $113.08 [$118]
2) This is the End (Sony/Columbia): $20.50 [$25]
3) Now You See Me (Lionsgate/Summit): $10.32 [$9.2]
4) Fast & Furious 6 (Universal): $9.43 [$8.9]
5) The Purge (Universal): $8.20 [$17]
6) The Internship (Fox): $7 [$8]
7) Epic (Fox): $6 [$6.8]
8) Star Trek Into Darkness (Paramount): $5.66 [$6]
9) After Earth (Sony/Columbia): $3.75 [$5.3]
10) Iron Man 3 (Disney): $2.91 [N/A]