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'Man of Steel' vs. 'Superman' Movies: Box Office

Man of Steel Amy Adams Lois LaneMan of Steel vs. Superman Returns (image: Amy Adams as Lois Lane in Man of Steel)

[See previous post: “Man of Steel Box Office: June Record Likely (Sort of).”] Released in late June 2006, Bryan Singer / Brandon Routh's Superman Returns opened with $52.53 million, or about $64 million today. Even taking into account that Superman Returns lacked the advantage of box-office-inflating 3D surcharges, Man of Steel will clearly soar much higher. (See updated post: “Man of Steel to Trail Iron Man 3: Box Office” – and possibly to trail the original Iron Man as well.)

Superman Returns cumed at $200.08 million in North America, in addition to $191 million internationally. Considering the exponential growth of the international market in the last decade, expect Man of Steel to earn much more outside of than in North America. Remember, without the international market, movies that cost $225 million (not including marketing and distribution expenses) would likely never, ever get made.

Directed by Richard Donner and starring Christopher Reeve in the title role, Superman cumed at $134.21 million at the domestic box office in 1978/79, or approximately $455 million today. Weekend results are impossible to compare, because the original big-screen Superman opened at only 508 locations.

Man of Steel reviews

Man of Steel has a mediocre 54 percent approval rating and 6.2/10 average rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. Superman Returns has a 74 percent approval rating and 6.9/10 average rating. (See also: “Man of Steel Review.”)

Man of Steel, Superman Returns, Superman cast

Besides Henry Cavill as Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman, the Man of Steel cast features Academy Award winners Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves) as Clark Kent's father, and Russell Crowe (Gladiator) as Jor-El (Superman's father); Academy Award nominees Amy Adams (Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, The Master) as Lois Lane, Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) as Zod, Diane Lane (Unfaithful) as Clark Kent's mother, and Laurence Fishburne (What's Love Got to Do with It) as Perry White.

Also: Ayelet Zurer (as Superman's actual mother), Antje Traue, Christopher Meloni, Harry Lennix, Michael Kelly, Dylan Sprayberry (as the teenage Clark Kent), Richard Schiff, Cooper Timberline, Mackenzie Gray, and Richard Cretone.

Henry Cavill, I should add, was author Stephenie Meyer's initial choice for the role of Edward Cullen in what turned out to be the Twilight movie franchise. Cavill was by then too old to play Edward, a role that eventually made Robert Pattinson an international star. Additionally, Cavill was at one point a potential James Bond – and who knows, may become a contender again once Daniel Craig drops out.

The Man of Steel screenplay is credited to David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises), from a story by Goyer and Christopher Nolan. Nolan is also credited as one of the film's producers.

Besides Brandon Routh, Superman Returns features Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, James Marsden, Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects), Parker Posey, Academy Award nominee Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Academy Award winner Eva Marie Saint (On the Waterfront), Sam Huntington, Kal Penn, and Jack Larson (the TV Superman's Jimmy Olsen).

Besides Christopher Reeve, Superman features two-time Academy Award winner Marlon Brando (On the Waterfront, The Godfather) as Jor-El; Margot Kidder as Lois Lane; two-time Academy Award winner Gene Hackman (The French Connection, Unforgiven); Academy Award nominees Susannah York (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?), Jackie Cooper (Skippy), Valerie Perrine (Lenny), Ned Beatty (Network), and Trevor Howard (Sons and Lovers); plus veterans Maria Schell, Terence Stamp, Glenn Ford, Phyllis Thaxter, Harry Andrews, and John Stuart (whose career dated back to the silent era).

Amy Adams as Lois Lane in Man of Steel photo: Warner Bros.

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