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Weekend Box Office: Man of Steel Proves Super in Record-Breaking Debut

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By Chris Kavan - 06/16/13 at 09:16 PM CT

If there were any fears that Superman couldn't keep up with other heroes, those fears were put to rest over the weekend. It turns out that audiences still had a place in their hearts despite the underwhelming reaction to Superman Returns. Add in a decent haul for a star-studded apocalyptic comedy and a couple of strong holdovers, and this weekend proved to be very super indeed.

1) MAN OF STEEL

It was a good weekend for those hoping that DC could spawn just a big of reaction as their Marvel counterparts. Man of Steel opened with $125.1* million ($113.1 million for the weekend proper) and marked a new record for the highest-grossing June opening (besting Toy Story 3's $110.3 million). It also represented the second-best opening for 2013 behind Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million). It handily beat the opening for Superman Returns ($84.6 million) and if it continues to perform well in coming weeks, a total of $350 isn't out of the question. While critics were a bit put off by the new take on the classic hero, audiences awarded it an A- cinemascore, meaning it should have strong legs.

It turns out the potent one-two punch of Zack Snyder (director) and Christopher Nolan (producer), not to mention providing an origin story that actually gave a new take on existing material, was plenty enticing to audiences. The film focused on characters, but didn't skimp on the action, and provided everything that summer blockbuster audiences want. As a launching platform for DC, they couldn't have hoped for much better.

2) THIS IS THE END

The apocalyptic comedy starring just about everyone it seems, managed a decent second-place $20.5 million opening ($32.8 million total with early showings taken into account). While that total is short of the opening for Pineapple Express ($41.3 million) and Tropic Thunder ($36.8 million), considering the somewhat limited audience appeal and the R rating, the opening has to be considered a win. The audience was largely male (60%) and younger (48% under 25) and awarded it a B+ cinemascore. With good word of mouth driving it, a $100 million total is the best-case scenario.

3) NOW YOU SEE ME

Having the best hold of any film in the top 12, Now You See Me dropped just 46% in its third weekend and managed to hold on to its third-place spot. With an additional $10.3 million in the bank, the film has earned $80 million so far and should be able to top $100 million before it ends its run.

4) FAST & FURIOUS 6

Dropping 52% - from second to fourth place - Fast 6 took in $9.4 million, raising its total to $219.57 million after four weeks in theaters. The film is already the highest-grossing in the franchise (both domestic and world-wide) so anything more it takes in is icing on the cake at this point. Depending on how it holds up, it should approach the $250 million mark before it winds down.

5)THE PURGE

Opening a strong first place didn't help the horror movie avoid a precipitous second-week drop. At 76%, it was a large drop indeed - even by horror movie standards (25th all-time in fact). With another $8.2 million, however, the micro-budged horror still broke $50 million with $51.8 million. With just a $3 million budget - that's still a nice return on the investment. Even with such a drop, a $75 million total is still an attainable number.

Outside the top five: Way down in 10th Place, Iron Man 3 is just about to cross the $400 million mark (and could rightfully do so when final numbers are tallied) even if it doesn't cross it this weekend - it should hit the mark by Monday. As it stands, Tony Stark has amassed $399.6 million in seven weeks.

Meanwhile, Ethan Hawke proved he can helm indies just as well as horror, as Before Midnight expanded its theater count to 897 theaters and took in $1.5 million (15th place). The film has grossed $3.2 million so far. It should be able to match or beat the totals of the previous films in the series Before Sunrise ($5.5 million) and Before Sunset ($5.8 million) - though it won't likely make much more than that.

Next weekend is the premier of the much maligned zombie epic World War Z and the Pixar prequel Monsters University - which should have no problem cornering the family audience.

*UPDATE - Due to a big Father's Day boost, Man of Steel officially wound up with a $128.7 million total ($116.7 for the weekend) instead of the $125.1 million that was earlier reported.

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