'Man of Steel' Opens to Second Best Gross of 2013; 'Bling Ring' Debut Glitters

Box Office
by Tom Brueggemann
June 15, 2013 4:15 PM
4 Comments
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Russell Crowe as Jor-El.
"Man of Steel," Warner Bros.' reboot of the "Superman" franchise, grossed a super $44 million on Friday (including midnight shows, but not Thursday evening Walmart-promotion screenings, which took in an addition $12 million). This is just under two-thirds of the opening day of "Iron Man 3," which was similarly enhanced by premium 3-D and IMAX ticket prices. "The Dark Knight Rises" last July, which confronted the Aurora tragedy its opening day, did over $75 million with no 3-D.

Disney/Marvel's "Iron Man 3" boasted less competition, bigger stars, and an edge from residual momentum from blockbuster "The Avengers" and better reviews. On the other hand, "Man of Steel" was boosted by kids getting out of school in June. 

The result is a robust but not record-breaking stateside gross. Comparisons to the 2006 "Superman Returns" are a bit tricky -- that film grossed $16 million its first Friday, but had already taken in an additional $32 million with a Tuesday night start. Also, the average ticket cost for "Man of Steel" is 20% higher on average, plus surcharges. That said, it appears the initial weekend total of customers will be a decent jump from the previous series entry.

Yesterday's total box office take looks to be somewhere in the area of $70 million, about $30 million ahead of 2012. Going into the weekend, 2013 was about $275 million behind last year ($4.525 billion to about $4.8), so this week looks to cut the gap by a healthy $100 million or so.

'The Bling Ring'

Less healthy is the number one film's dominance of the overall field now that the summer is fully underway. "Man of Steel" constituted about two-thirds of the Friday business. 

Number two was Sony's all-star comedy "This Is the End," which grossed just under $7 million for a three-day total of $19.2 million. Positioned as an alternative to "Steel," this looks to be a rousing relatively low-budget sleeper hit with good word of mouth. 

Number three is Lionsgates's surprise success "Now You See Me," which looks like it will be the best of the holdovers and rise a notch from its position last week despite a drop of almost half from last Friday (it did $3.2 million and now is at a $73 million total). Last week's #1 "The Purge" (Universal) collapsed as expected, though at 82% one of the worst drops for a #1 week gross ever, and could end up as low as #5 for the weekend (for the day it was slightly ahead of "Fast & Furious 6").

The rest of the holdovers in the top 10 grossed $2.3 million or less, with only four of the five topping the $1 million mark, very mediocre for mid-June top-end releases.

A24's limited opening of "The Bling Ring" did a promising $77,000 in five theaters, adding another potential success to the recent series of decent if not yet breakout specialized releases.

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4 Comments

  • Sam | June 16, 2013 5:41 AMReply

    Bling Ring numbers are pretty good considering the competition. A24 is gambling releasing this against the other Emma movie.

  • Ramesh | June 15, 2013 5:35 PMReply

    Depends. Does " Sleeper" mean "Sleeping with publicists for hype"? :D

  • greg w. locke | June 15, 2013 4:19 PMReply

    This Is the End is a "low budget sleeper"? Huh?

  • Tom Brueggemann | June 15, 2013 5:56 PM

    This Is the End has a budget of around $35 million, which is considered a relatively low budget for a studio summer release. Sleeper comes from the chance that this film might end up at $100 million or higher (depending on word of mouth, to be determined), which I sense was not regarded as anything close to guaranteed.

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