UK Box Office

Man of Steel 3D (12A)

Seven years after Superman Returns debuted disappointingly, the series reboot has opened faster than a speeding bullet.

How long should a franchise lie fallow before it can be rebooted successfully? With its premier comic-book property, Warner Bros allowed an eight-year gap between Batman and Robin and Batman Begins, although it’s worth remembering that grosses for the Christopher Nolantrilogy only reached spectacular levels with The Dark Knight, three years later; the sequel made £49.1m, as opposed to just £16.6m for Batman Begins. Sony did pretty well with The Amazing Spider-Man only five years after Spider-Man 3, whereas Universal didn’t create much excitement with Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk, five years after Ang Lee‘s less-than-fully achieved Hulk.

Seven years after Superman Returns underwhelmed audiences with a total of £16.4m in the UK and Ireland, the pricey Man of Steel always looked likely to improve on that total. With Nolan on board as producer, collaborating with screenwriter David S Goyer on story, Warner Bros had reason to hope that the talent refresh would excite blockbuster fans, even if director Zack Snyder elicited a mixed reaction. The distributor’s hopes have proved well-founded: Man of Steel has opened in the UK with a stonking £11.20m, just behind summer 2013’s current frontrunnerIron Man 3, which debuted with £11.39m plus £2.32m in previews. With Iron Man 3 currently at £36.9m, Man of Steel has every chance of reaching comaparably lofty heights, as long as audience reactions are similarly positive.

By way of comparison, in July 2006 Superman Returns opened with just £4.34m. Snyder’s biggest previous best was 300, which kicked off in March 2007 with £4.75m, including £784,000 in previews. Watchmendebuted in March 2009 with £3.24m. Snyder’s last film, the widely derided Sucker Punch, crept out with a poor £815,000, thereafter falling hard and fast. Man of Steel star Henry Cavill’s previous best wasImmortals, debuting in November 2011 with £2.17m.

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