[See previous post: "Man of Steel Trailing Original Iron Man in Ticket Sales."] As mentioned in our previous posts, the $225 million-budgeted Man of Steel grossed an estimated $113.08 million this past weekend, including $9 million from Thursday midnight screenings. Directed by Zack Snyder, the 2013 Superman reboot stars Henry Cavill as Clark Kent aka Superman. (Photo: Henry Cavill in Man of Steel.)
Released in late June 2006, Bryan Singer's $270 million-budgeted Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh as Superman, debuted with $52.53 million, or about $64 million today. Even taking into account that Superman Returns lacked the box-office-boosting advantage of 3D surcharges, Man of Steel is obviously a much bigger hit than its immediate predecessor.
Superman Returns eventually reached $200.08 million in North America, plus a slightly more modest $191 million internationally. Man of Steel will not only easily surpass Superman Returns at the domestic box office, but it'll also earn at the very least twice as much as Superman Returns internationally. As explained in more detail in the previous post, the Zack Snyder / Henry Cavill Superman reboot has already taken in $71.6 million from only 24 international territories.
Directed by Richard Donner and starring Christopher Reeve in the title role, Superman totaled $134.21 million at the U.S. and Canada box office in 1978/79, or about $455 million today. Weekend results are impossible to compare, as the original big-screen Superman opened at 508 locations (vs. more than 4,000 for Man of Steel), bringing in $7.46 million, or about $25 million today.
Internationally, as per Box Office Mojo Superman soared to an astonishing (for the time) $166 million (about $530 million today). How come? Well, one good reason is that the 1978 Warner Bros. release was the first megabudget superhero movie ever made. Superman cost a reported $55 million (about $196 million in 2013), of which a widely publicized $3 million went to two-time Oscar winner Marlon Brando (On the Waterfront, The Godfather) as a paycheck for three days of work as Superman's father, Jor-El.
Directed by Richard Lester, the $54 million-budgeted Superman II (1981) cumed at $108.18 million in North America. Lester's Superman III (1983), featuring Richard Pryor as a clownish villain, took in only $59.95 million domestically. Directed by Sidney J. Furie, the cheapo ($17 million budget) Cannon Films-produced, Warner Bros.-distributed Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) was a total bomb: $15.68 million in the U.S. and Canada.
Henry Cavill toplines Man of Steel cast
Besides Henry Cavill, the Man of Steel cast features two Oscar winners: Russell Crowe (Gladiator) as Jor-El, and Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves) as Jonathan Kent. In addition to four Oscar nominees: Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) as the evil General Zod, Amy Adams (Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, The Master) as reporter Lois Lane, Diane Lane (Unfaithful) as Martha Kent, and Laurence Fishburne (What's Love Got to Do with It) as newsman Perry White.
Also in the Man of Steel cast: Ayelet Zurer (as Lara Lor-Van), Dylan Sprayberry (as the adolescent Clark Kent), Antje Traue (as Faora-Ul), Christopher Meloni (as Colonel Nathan Hardy), Cooper Timberline (as the 9-year-old Clark Kent), Harry Lennix, Michael Kelly, Mackenzie Gray, Richard Schiff, and Richard Cretone.
David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) was credited for the Man of Steel screenplay, from a story by Goyer and Batman trilogy filmmaker Christopher Nolan. Nolan is also credited as one of Man of Steel's producers.
Henry Cavill: Edward Cullen, James Bond -- but not Batman -- among 'lost' roles
Superman Henry Cavill was Twilight book series author Stephenie Meyer's first choice for the role of the lovestruck vampire Edward Cullen. By 2007, however, Cavill was deemed too old. Robert Pattinson ultimately played Edward opposite Kristen Stewart's Bella Swan, thus becoming an international sensation.
Additionally, a few years ago Henry Cavill was a James Bond contender. Theoretically, he could once again become a Bond candidate after (the highly successful) Daniel Craig's "retirement." Tales about Cavill having been a contender to play Bruce Wayne aka Batman don't seem to be based on fact. Christian Bale eventually landed the role.
Although best known for his TV role as Charles Brandon in The Tudors, opposite Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Sarah Bolger, Henry Cavill has been featured in ten other movies besides Man of Steel. Among those are Mabrouk El Mechri's In the Cold Light of Day, with Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver; Tarsem Singh's Immortals, with Freida Pinto and Kellan Lutz; Woody Allen's Whatever Works, with Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood; Matthew Vaughn's Stardust, with Claire Danes and Michelle Pfeiffer; Kevin Reynolds' Tristan + Isolde, with James Franco and Sophia Myles; and Randal Kleiser's Red Riding Hood, with Morgan Thompson and Lainie Kazan.
Superman Returns, Superman cast
Besides Brandon Routh as the returning superhero, Superman Returns features Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects) as Lex Luthor, Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, James Marsden as Richard White, Academy Award winner Eva Marie Saint (On the Waterfront) as Martha Kent, and Sam Huntington as Jimmy Olsen. Plus Oscar nominee Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Kal Penn, Parker Posey, and Jack Larson -- the TV Superman's Jimmy Olsen.
In addition to Christopher Reeve in the title role and Marlon Brando as his Kryptonian father, the 1978 Superman movie features two-time Oscar winner Gene Hackman (The French Connection, Unforgiven) as Lex Luthor; Margot Kidder as Lois Lane; and the following Academy Award nominees: Jackie Cooper (Skippy) as Perry White, Susannah York (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?) as Lara, Trevor Howard (Sons and Lovers) as Krypton's 1st Elder, Valerie Perrine (Lenny), and Ned Beatty (Network).
Also: veterans Terence Stamp as General Zod (Superman II's top villain), Maria Schell as Vond-Ah, Glenn Ford as Pa Kent, Phyllis Thaxter as Ma Kent, Harry Andrews, and John Stuart -- whose career dated back to the early silent era, including a major role in Alfred Hitchcock's first directorial effort, The Pleasure Garden.
Henry Cavill as Superman Man of Steel photo: Warner Bros.