It might not be “Iron Man 3” money ($174 million opening weekend), but the Christopher Nolan produced, Zack Snyder directed “Man of Steel,” is on pace to break a June record for a non-sequel with a $120 million weekend haul. This puts Hollywood’s the third attempt at a Superman franchise way ahead of the second, the pitiful “Superman Returns,” which scored only $84.6 million over a five-day weekend.
According to Box Office Mojo, the previous June record holder was “Toy Story 3,” with $110 million. “Tranformers: Revenge of the Fallen” came in second with $108 million. If Nikki Finke’s numbers are correct, there is no question “Man of Steel” will beat the non-sequel record. It might, though, beat all records, which is something even Warner Bros. didn’t dare predict.
What we have here, as well, is yet another example of a major divide between critics and moviegoers. Via the reliable Cinemascore, we know that audiences have given “Man of Steel” an A-, which signifies the kind of word of mouth and return business necessary to create a blockbuster as opposed to a one-weekend wonder. Critics, though, were nowhere near as impressed, collectively giving the film “rotten tomato” status, with a 57% ranking.
By contrast, the appalling “Superman Returns,” which stripped Superman of his masculinity, Americanism, and chivalry (remember the spying on Lois Lane?) earned a 75% score from critics.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC