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Does 'Man Of Steel' Need To Make $1 Billion To Be A Success?

by Kevin Jagernauth
June 7, 2013 1:30 PM
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Man Of Steel

In case you've been living in a cave, you probably already know that one week from today, "Man Of Steel" will be flying into theaters. Warner Bros. has been going into overdrive promoting the movie, with 13 TV spots and 4 clips to date, and while the final trailer dropped yesterday, there is likely much more to come over the next seven days. It's easy to understand why WB are pulling out all the stops -- with Batman's cowl retired for now, and nothing else on the DC docket, they need "Man Of Steel" to not only revitalize this lucrative franchise, but also to open the gateway to "Justice League." But what will be the metric of success? How much money will this have to make for Warner Bros. to feel comfortable?

Well, about $1 billion dollars. That's according to Variety, who have pegged the budget at $225 million with another $150 million added on for marketing, putting the price tag at a whopping $375 million. Some perspective: at the time, "Superman Returns" cost roughly in the same ballpark (depending who you ask, costs ranged from $230 million to $270 million, likely not including promotion) and with a worldwide haul of "only" $391 million, it's easy to see why WB canned plans for a sequel and went back to the drawing board.

So, for "Man Of Steel," Warner Bros. essentially wants "The Avengers" and "Iron Man 3" sized numbers, and are looking at their own successes such as the $1 billion hauls of "The Dark Knight" films and the  $1.3 billion tally for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ as a measuring stick. But is that expectation realistic?

On the one hand, WB might want to remember that "Batman Begins" only made $374 million worldwide when it first landed. And moreover, Marvel only got to their billion dollar heights after years of building up the brand. But then again, Warner Bros. has been savvy in pushing the Christopher Nolan/"The Dark Knight" connection in all the advertising, helping to tell audiences that this is essentially following the same grittier/realistic template of those movies. And since audiences lined up in droves for those...

And also, WB is not making the same mistakes they did on Bryan Singer's film. “It had a lot of emotion, but not enough action sequences,” honcho Jeff Robinov told the trade. And there will be none of Nolan's standalone shenanigans either.

"The plan is for a universe that will allow for other DC characters,” he added. “Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy was set very much in an isolated universe and done as a stand-alone without other superheroes.” Apparently, WB wants a "Justice League" movie within the next four years, and that will only depend on whether the inevitable "Man Of Steel" sequel goes before or after.

As we said, there is a lot riding on this movie -- including the future of other movies. Can "Man Of Steel" be the next billion dollar flick of 2013? Are WB aiming too high? Let us know your thoughts below.

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  • patrick | October 6, 2013 9:46 PMReply

    They might need to beacause i think that they need that much money for ben affleck to pretend in man of steel 2 to fight each other.Thats my guess also or paying the distruction that might happend.Also they might need money to give some one money to be super girl to be there.If my Quesstions were right then im right s ya thats my gues.

  • Francis | July 18, 2013 7:52 PMReply

    I personally think The Man of Steel has far too much shaky camera work in it, which did it damage. I have no desire to see it again because of that. None of the Dark Knight film use shake Camera work, at least not noticeably. Even in Avatar, James Cameron does not use it much. I think this was Mr Snyders mistake. Mr Snyder should have studied the Dark Knight films and Avatar and Superman the Movie more, which it'sself, does not use shaky camera work. I think 1 billion as a grossing for Man of Steel was realistic, but using NO Shake Camera work. In modern money, adjusting for inflation and their being more people now, Superman The Movie, from 1978, would have made inexcess of 1 billion, probably between 1.3 and 1.5 billion or more. The Man of Steel could have made more then 1 billion had it been better film making and directing. The story was fine. I hope it does reach 1 billion, but I think it's excessive use of shaky camera work, which is very annoying, has let it down.

  • CJ | July 18, 2013 5:49 PMReply

    With the box office of over 600 million WW already and all the money from cross promotion and all the money from licensing fee for all the MOS products that are EVERYWHERE, I can't see how WB is not doing the happy dance. My guess they are fast tracking the sequel as we speak. They will probably film both MOS (2) and the Justice League back to back I could see budget savings by doing that. MOS (2) could lead into The Justice League quite nicely.

  • Avram | June 23, 2013 11:15 PMReply

    So, now we know, Man of Steel didn't come close to Iron Man 3 numbers, let alone the fantasy projections of 300 million plus on opening weekend. And it looks like it's taking a huge hit in revenue from weekend one to weekend two. Buh by, Superman, buh by now.

  • SUPES | July 8, 2013 6:00 AM

    MOS is now the highest grossing comic hero reboot movie of all time (uk movies yahoo com man-steel-officially-most-successful-superhero-reboot-ever)

    It just broke Amazing Spiderman's overall domestic total, MOS may not be the best movie by itself, but if its sequels are well crafted, it will crush Iron Man's collections.

    Note: Its yet to open in big markets like Brazil.

  • jitters | July 6, 2013 10:03 AM

    Yeah, ok... remember how much the first Iron Man movie made? Yep, "only" $585 million... Man of Steel has a great chance to surpass that. Iron Man 2 & 3 surpassed one billion, but remember Batman Begins only made $374, but the Dark Knight & Dark Knight Rises each made over a billion... are you seeing a trend here? Once a movie is established and fans catch on and relate to it, the sequels do much better. The first is really there to establish the movie in the minds of fans.

    And, WB has stated they are over the moon with the performance of Man of Steel and are already talking about a sequel. So sorry, but Superman is here to stay. I don't know where Variety is getting their figures from, but according to WB, they aren't expecting Man of Steel to make 1 billion to be a success, not even close.

  • Jlee244 | July 1, 2013 11:25 PM

    Give me a break, Iron Man 3 has had half a decade to draw fans in and build it's brand.

    For a reboot, after a terrible last outing (Superman Returns), Man of Steel is doing excellent. It's on track for 300 domestically and around 750 internationally. It's a certified hit any way you look at it.

    Not sure why every comic book movie turns into a pissing contest between Marvel and DC?

    I for one enjoy both.

  • Chris | June 26, 2013 1:21 AM

    Whoever thought an origin movie fighting against a rejected Superman Returns in recent memory would make 1 billion is really just trolling. This was a great start to the Man of Steel series and as of now is on track to finish anywhere between 700-800 million. Batman Begins would have made much much more if that horrific Batman and Robin was still not fresh in our minds.

  • Alan B | June 24, 2013 12:13 AM

    Can you spell "bye"?

  • Alan B | June 24, 2013 12:11 AM

    It's the fifth highest grossing film of the year domestically after TWO WEEKS and its the tenth highest grossing film internationally, despite not opening in many major international markets. So it's done fine. But, sure, let's compare this reboot to the third film in a very successful series and pretend that anyone who's opinion is worth something projected a $300 million opening weekend.

  • JENNIFER | June 21, 2013 1:46 AMReply

    man of steel is the best movie i have seen this year, i saw it in IMAX3D...

  • BOB | June 21, 2013 1:43 AMReply

    i saw Man Of Steel in 3D and it was Great, i Don't think it will make more Money in USA than The Dark Knight Rises or Iron Man #3 But i think Man Of Steel can make $1.2 Billion WorldWide

  • Neil | June 12, 2013 11:59 PMReply

    $350+million openning weekend, $1billion surpass...

  • Karim | January 5, 2014 9:59 PM

    Too much fail

  • Cobblepot | June 12, 2013 3:55 PMReply

    You know, the batman begins numbers arent as relevant because superhero movies are a well accepted part of the blockbuster summer movie cycle now in a way that it hadnt been at the time of bagman begins release date. 1 billion is a very good measuring stick number to work with. superheros are extremely mainstream in the way action movies of yore were.

  • Pete | June 11, 2013 3:41 PMReply

    Without a doubt this will be the biggest blockbuster of 2013 and one of the best superhero movies of all time...It will not only surpass 1 billion dollars, it will break some records too, the promotions WB has done is incredible as they have built up, I remember in the beginning (last year) we didn't have much to talk about but it certainly gave us so much curiosity. Now finally with the last trailer I believe this movie will be epic hands down!

  • Karim | January 5, 2014 9:58 PM

    Another fail

  • GERARD KENNELLY | June 9, 2013 10:02 AMReply

    don't forget
    The Hobbit trailer will be shown in front of Man Of Steel

    that will inspire more than afew people to buy tickets to go see MOS

  • Derek | June 13, 2013 1:19 PM

    A good time to step out for popcorn.

  • Ben | June 9, 2013 1:28 AMReply


  • jim | June 8, 2013 11:21 PMReply

    I saw it today at FT Hood TX. This movie exceeds the hype and delivers the superman we have all been waiting for . It was action packed with the best visuals I have ever seen. It is a film with substance, grit and depth. Superman is awesome! This movie is a must see.

  • Jake | June 8, 2013 8:02 PMReply

    I saw a screening of this today, AWESOME. I hope they make a sequel. Definitely movie of the summer. Beats IM3 hands down. Either way I don't see a Justice League movie happening anytime soon if ever.

  • Johnnie | June 10, 2013 9:27 AM

    Of course you saw it in Ft. Hood. You're one of the WB marketing people who flew to Texas to sit in during the test screening.

  • Johnnie | June 10, 2013 9:27 AM

    Of course you saw it in Ft. Hood. You're one of the WB marketing people who flew to Texas to sit in during the test screening.

  • June Eryyn | June 8, 2013 4:33 PMReply

    Want to know why there are no red trunks on Superman in Man of Steel?
    Want to know more about the costume? Want to know more about Zack
    Snyder and company’s take, and how they stayed true to the roots of
    Superman but made things “fresh?” Well, here’s a fan blog about MAN OF STEEL Go check it out

  • Derek | June 13, 2013 1:20 PM

    No, I don't care. Thanks.

  • rodie | June 8, 2013 9:59 AMReply

    $375 million? So it needs to make $750 global at the box office to break even. Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man 3 both made $1 billion globally, and arguably Superman has much greater appeal than Batman and Iron Man, so yeah this is completely doable.

  • Big Al | June 8, 2013 6:28 AMReply

    This movie will smash all records

  • Shawn | June 7, 2013 10:50 PMReply

    The only way this franchise and the future of the JL movie would be to have some indication that Christian Bale (not a new one) would reprise his Batman. They are going for the "realistic" look/ feel to theses movie vs. the popcorn glossy feel the avengers gave us. Between Snyder, Goyer and Nolan they can create a world where the "Dark Knight" as we now know can be in the same universe. Yes, keep the Dark Knight Trilogy separate but incorporate Bale, sometime in the future perhaps, in with Cavill's Superman. That is the only way you will have the credible, success ALL moviegoers want as well as over throwing the Avengers.

  • Thomas | June 7, 2013 10:25 PMReply

    I have never seen so much buzz for a movie. Not for the Avengers, or even Batman. I think 1 Billion is a lowball figure.

  • Thomas | June 7, 2013 10:23 PMReply

    I have never seen so much buzz for a movie. Not for the Avengers, or even Batman. I think 1 Billion is a lowball figure.

  • lou | June 8, 2013 7:43 AM

    I have never seen the same comment posted so many times.

  • Thomas | June 7, 2013 10:23 PMReply

    I have never seen so much buzz for a movie. Not for the Avengers, or even Batman. I think 1 Billion is a lowball figure.

  • Thomas | June 7, 2013 10:23 PMReply

    I have never seen so much buzz for a movie. Not for the Avengers, or even Batman. I think 1 Billion is a lowball figure.

  • Thomas | June 7, 2013 10:23 PMReply

    I have never seen so much buzz for a movie. Not for the Avengers, or even Batman. I think 1 Billion is a lowball figure.

  • Karim | January 5, 2014 9:57 PM

    DC fanboys are truly morons.

  • cole | June 7, 2013 10:08 PMReply

    I think it is understandable if WB's aim is $1 billion because Chris Nolan's name and how high the money superhero movies made last year and this year with Iron Man 3.

    I think all box-office bomber movies always aim very high. Breaking Dawn Part 2, if I remembered correctly, aimed for $1 billion too since Deathly Hallows can reach that number even though it was impossible if you think logically.

    However, Superman is not Batman. In many countries, especially Asia (I'm Asian), many people prefer Batman than Superman. My friend even said that he isn't going to see Man of Steel even though he admit that the trailers and such look good.

    Maybe Man of Steel will be around $700 or 800 million

  • nalindra | June 7, 2013 7:20 PMReply

    It is way too high,as it was correctly pointed out batman begins with a budget of $150 mil made only $370+ mil but the movie was a major success and the latter sequels were huge,same goes for pirates of the Caribbean,matrix,transformers etc. so as the first in the franchise this must be considered a success if it makes approx between $600 mil - $700 mil with maybe $275 mil stateside and remaining overseas. What matters is the goodwill it generates for other DC movies and the sequels of MOS. If WB is expecting such a high level then it is not fair of them the expectations has to be realistic,if it surpasses it then it must be considered a bonus.

  • Karim | January 5, 2014 9:56 PM

    Wow, very accurate guess.


  • alboone | June 7, 2013 5:20 PMReply

    I have a sneaking suspicion this going to be what Titanic was for girls this will be for the fanboy set. I hear its incredibly emotional and if that's the case then watch out, records will be broken.

  • Nuclyos | June 7, 2013 4:16 PMReply

    It will beat iron man 3, it will make 300 million first weekend. Why?
    The buzz is crazy!

  • Karim | January 5, 2014 9:55 PM

    HAHAHAHA! You look like a right fool now, don't you?

  • hank | June 7, 2013 3:44 PMReply

    it's going to make a shitload of money.

  • Mark Nissel | June 7, 2013 2:37 PMReply

    Can "Man Of Steel" be the next billion dollar flick of 2013 ... YES

    Are WB aiming too high? ... NO

  • elizabethavery602 | June 7, 2013 2:31 PMReply

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  • tally | June 7, 2013 2:12 PMReply

    it def has potential to make a billion dollars worldwide. superman is well known everywhere. and even though the trailers don't show that much action, its a fucking zac synder film, he knows what hes up against and deliver the goods. hopefully.

  • Adam P | June 7, 2013 2:02 PMReply

    I really want it to be a hit even though I was ultra skeptical for a long time. I think it is unrealistic to think the first film in a possible series will reach 1 Billion quickly. I think besides AVATAR all of the rest of the films in the "Billion Dollar Club" have all been sequels... It should do well as long as critics don't tear it apart days from it opening in wide release . But all wecan do as of now is wait and see.

  • Brett | June 13, 2013 2:13 PM

    Technically, Double D, I would consider The Avengers and Skyfall sequels. They are both part of established franchises, so they mostly earn from the success of those. They are definitely not in the same group as Titanic and Avatar. The Hobbit is another movie, and that's a debatable one. It technically is the start of it's own franchise, but it still has aspects of the Lord of the Rings to draw in crowds. Anyways, James Cameron is a boss.

  • Double D | June 10, 2013 1:03 AM

    Adam P,
    Titanic, The Avengers, Skyfall and Alice in Wonderland all made more than 1 Billion.

  • Mike T | June 9, 2013 12:40 PM

    @Dave, and Inception didn't make 1 billion. Think the total was 800-850 mil.

  • Mike T | June 9, 2013 12:39 PM

    @Dave, and Inception didn't make 1 billion. Think the total was 800-850 mil.

  • Mike T | June 9, 2013 12:39 PM

    @Dave, and Inception didn't make 1 billion. Think the total was 800-850 mil.

  • SRM | June 8, 2013 1:51 AM

    @Dave Holmes
    To be fair though, Titanic was re-released in theaters multiple times along with Avatar.

  • Dave Holmes | June 7, 2013 4:24 PM

    Titanic, inception weren't sequels.

  • JT | June 7, 2013 1:56 PMReply

    Of course it doesn't need one billion. That budget is overblown, everyone else seems to be reporting 175 million. If it hits 600 million WW, there will be a sequel.

  • James | June 7, 2013 1:55 PMReply

    So in short; from a commercial standpoint WB is allready winning with this. If the trailers do the film any justice - one can only imagine younglings around the world going gaga for merchandise as well.

    The reason why I hope this film does great is that Snyder and Nolan will get more power within the studiosystem. Personally not as psyched about this film as the rest of the world (or so it seems).

  • James | June 7, 2013 1:47 PMReply

    Man of Steel has already made $170 million from its promotional partners - a number now probably closer to $200 (insane) - and with this being a lighter film than the Dark Knight series - its gonna pull a larger demo (families ets) and it will do way better at foreign markets.

  • Jeff | June 7, 2013 4:25 PM

    To K, the Hollywood Reporter is reporting that fact; unfortunately they won't let me post the link in here but just go to their home page. They reported it yesterday.

  • K | June 7, 2013 2:55 PM

    Any confirmation of this buddy?

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