The biggest movie weekend of the summer may well be upon us.
Friday “Man of Steel” hits theaters, thousands and thousands of theaters -- including seven of Lincoln’s 32 commercial screens.
The Superman movie from “300” director Zack Snyder and co-written by Christopher Nolan, who made “The Dark Knight” Batman films, pits the all-American superhero against Krypton General Zod, who is intent on conquering the Earth and wiping out humanity.
It has received positive, if not rave early reviews -- with which I concur. But “Man of Steel” is a critic-proof film and is already on the way to box-office riches. Online ticket service Fandango reports that “Man of Steel” is outselling all previous 2013 films in advance ticket sales.
That has some box-office speculators predicting a $100 million-plus opening weekend. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Warner Brothers, the studio distributing the film, is trying to lower expectations, predicting a $75 million opening.
For comparative purposes, “Iron Man 3,” the highest-grossing film of 2013, opened at $174 million in May. It opened in 4,253 theaters. “Man of Steel” will open on about the same number of screens.
Regardless of the precise amount “Man of Steel” makes, the weekend will get an additional boost from “This Is the End,” the end of the world celebrity comedy that opened midweek and will see its biggest business Friday and Saturday.
Industry prognosticators put the five-day gross at about $40 million for the R-rated film that’s set in James Franco’s house when the Rapture occurs, and the Judd Apatow team of actors is left behind.
Together, “This Is the End” and “Man of Steel” could come close to equaling the “Iron Man 3” box office.
The week’s other wide opening film is “Before Midnight,” the third picture in director Richard Linklater’s series that explores the ongoing relationship of a couple played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
One of the best-reviewed films of the year -- and the best picture I’ve seen in 2013 -- “Before Midnight” has been in limited release for a couple of weeks, playing only 50 theaters around the country.
Friday it comes to the Ross Media Arts Center as it expands its run to several hundred screens. That won’t be enough to get it noticed by the box-office watchers, even if it has a high per-screen average, the true measure of a movie’s popularity with its audience. But there won’t be a better film this year and certainly nothing as appealing to an adult audience this summer.
As for the rest of the movies in Lincoln, there’s still some business left for last week’s surprise cash leader, “The Purge,” which opened at $34 million, making the horror picture one of the top 10 openers of the year. It likely will drop by about 50 percent this weekend. Plus, residual income will come from “Fast & Furious 6,” one of the summer’s surprises; “The Internship,” which performed slightly under expectations last weekend; and the long-running “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
'Iron Man 3' to fly only at SouthPointe; 'Reluctant Fundamentalist' leaving Ross
“Iron Man 3” will be playing only at SouthPointe after Thursday’s screenings to make room for Superman.
Ending Thursday at Ross to make way for “Before Midnight” is “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” the superb film from director Mira Nair about a Pakistani man living in the United States who gets caught up in post 9/11 anti-Muslim prejudice and turns against his adopted country.
“The Reluctant Fundamentalist” has performed better than expected at the Ross and is worth making the time to see on the big screen.