Superman’s faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive, but does that power translate to the box office? After “Superman Returns'” solid, if not a bit under-whelming, weekend opening, eyes were fixed on the box office returns from Monday and Tuesday here in the U.S, as families came together to celebrate Independence Day in the United States. While there are no hard numbers in yet, industry estimates put Monday’s returns at $13 million and Tuesday’s returns at $8.5 million, bringing the film’s estimated gross to $106 million after just seven days in release (though some would argue eight, since some do count the Tuesday early screening revenue as occurring on Tuesday and not part of Wednesday’s tally). Still, director Bryan Singer has to be happy with “Superman Returns” continuing to trend above blockbusters “Batman Begins” and “Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring.”
Dan Gellman, Warner Bros’ head of distribution, told the Associated Press that, “Bryan is just such a bright and creative individual. He had his own vision, and he was right and did a great job.”
Added Bruce Synder, WB’s head of distribution, “I don’t know what to say. This is beyond my expectations.”
The numbers also tell a positive story. Last year’s big WB superhero release, “Batman Begins” didn’t cross the $100 million mark until day ten, making “Superman Returns” an equally well-reviewed and more profitable film. This upward trend bodes well for WB’s next superhero flick, “Wonder Woman,” and will no doubt encourage fast tracking of the oft-discussed “Green Lantern” and “Flash” films. 2001’s big franchise starter, “Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring,” took eight days to hit the $100 million mark, and as is well known, that film did just fine thanks to word of mouth and the resulting strong legs at the box office. When comparing Big Blue to Tom Cruise, the numbers are less forgiving, as last year’s “War Of The Worlds” was already at $121 million at this same time. It’s not the same kind of genre flick as “Superman Returns,” but considering that both were Fourth Of July weekend blockbuster releases, the comparison is certainly apt.
The big challenge for “Superman Returns” will be retaining legs at the box office as the summer continues. The new “Pirates Of The Caribbean” film debuts in theatres this week and will definitely open strong, benefiting from the popularity of the last film. There’s also the debut of “Miami Vice” later this month, which will draw in a broad audience, and then “Snakes On A Plane” later this summer, which appeals to much of the same market as “Superman Returns.” If Superman can continue to soar at the box office and draw in viewers for repeat viewings, especially likely given the popularity of the IMAX 3D version of the film, there’s no reason that “Superman Returns” can’t continue to be a top ten box office staple this summer.
CBR News will keep you updated on the film and inevitable sequel, “Superman Ain’t Goin Anywhere,” but for now, you can check out our extensive coverage of the film.
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