Despite a needlessly convoluted plot, a dreary visual palette, and a take on its titular titan that deviated rather dramatically from everything folks know and love about Kal-El, Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder's gritty Superman reboot drew big crowds this weekend. Clearing the June opening-weekend record in a single bound, Man Of Steel brought in a super-heroic $125.1 million—the year's second-highest debut, behind that other man of steel, Iron Man. Revisionist takes on iconic properties are all well and good, but who was this sullen imposter in the red and blue? (One theory: he's actually this guy. Or maybe this one.) Does this mean audiences can now expect dark re-imaginings of other beacon-of-hope superheroes? Will Wonder Woman strangle Cheetah to death with her lasso in an inevitable Justice League lead-in feature? Will the Flash take on the NSA in a mega-budget, mega-obvious political allegory?
Moviegoers mostly treated the rest of the weekend's fare like it was made of Kryptonite. (Or, you know, the human equivalent of Kryptonite. Like mercury-soaked tuna or something.) Way, way back in second place was This Is The End, featuring the Justice League of Apatow-approved comedic stars. The film actually made a healthy $20.5 million, which is solid for an R-rated comedy about the apocalypse. Improbably holding strong in third place was Now You See Me, raking in another $10 million to bring its total to a better-than-expected $80 million. That pretty much makes it the surprise hit of the summer—especially since last week's where-did-that-come-from? horror hit The Purge took a ghastly nosedive. It made just $8.2 million in its second weekend, proving that audiences will watch Ethan Hawke fend off home invaders only when their other new option is a feature-length Google commercial.
Further down the charts, The Bling Ride debuted to $210,000 on just five screens, while Before Midnight continued to climb, adding another million-and-a-half to its domestic haul. The film's $3 million intact is only about half of what its predecessors, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, made in their theatrical runs. But the summer is young.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.