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"Superman" Flexes Not-So-Super Box Office Muscle

Superman ReturnsThe Warner Brother's revamped superhero tale "Superman Returns" is off to a strong start, but it's not crushing any records according to Variety.

The Bryan Singer project grossed a solid $52.5 million on its opening weekend and $108 million total over the extended July 4th holiday.

However, based on the weekend alone, "Superman" was on the low end of recent nonsequel superhero films - ahead of WB's own "Batman Begins" last year but behind "Spider-Man," "Hulk," "Fantastic Four" and "X-Men."

Of course, its success all depends on where you start the counting. Because it's opening date was set just ahead of the July 4th holiday, the studio essentially created a seven-day weekend for the film. Naturally, that worked in its favor, setting box office numbers at the $108 million total, trumping the other superhero pics (except "Spider-Man") at the end of their respective first weeks.

Hoping to restart the franchise, the $260 million "Superman Returns" is a very expensive gamble for Warners. If its number fall similar to those for "Batman Begins," the bean counters are predicting that a total box office take just over $200 million is likely. That makes its performance in foreign markets key. So far, the film has brought in only an additional $20 million internationally.

The biggest problem for the film could be its upcoming competition. "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is set for release this week and will surely strike a hefty blow to the Man of Steel's numbers. (Insert terrible a kryptonite pun here.)

They should combine the two greats "Freddy vs. Jason" style. Captain Jack vs. Superman. Now that'd be a cool fight! Well, fun to watch anyway. -- Shannon Nolley

Posted by Shannon on July 5, 2006 11:41 PM
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