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Box Office Report: Friday Returns Show 'Man of Steel' Soaring to $125 Million-Plus Debut

Man of Steel Cavill in front of Army Tanks - H 2013
Warner Bros. Pictures

Early Friday numbers show big returns for Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan's Superman origin pic, starring British-born Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane.

Can Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' much-anticipated Man of Steel cross $125 million in its North American debut, the second-best opening of summer 2013 to date?

Box-office observers say yes based on early Friday returns. Directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan, Man of Steel took in $21 million as it began rolling out Thursday night, a combination of $12 million from special screenings hosted by retail giant Walmart and $9 million from midnight runs.

British actor Henry Cavill stars as Clark Kent, aka Superman, in the origin tale, which sees his character trying to hide his superpowers and live a normal life on Earth. Amy Adams stars as Lois Lane, and Michael Shannon takes on the role of the menacing General Zod.

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David S. Goyer penned the script based on a story he crafted with Nolan. Warners and Legendary turned to Nolan as a producer on the project after he successfully revived the Batman franchise with his Dark Knight trilogy. In the summer of 2005, Nolan's Batman Begins opened to $48.7 million and had incredible staying power.

Man of Steel should earn $45 million to $46 million on Friday, including the $9 million in midnight earnings (the $12 million will be folded into the weekend gross).

Earlier this summer, Iron Man 3 debuted to $174.1 million, benefiting from being the threequel in an incredibly popular brand.

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Overseas, Man of Steel is opening day-and-date in 24 markets, landing first in the Philippines and Taiwan on Wednesday, where it earned $1.7 million and $794,742, respectively. It was the largest opening day ever in the Philippines and the largest Warners opening in Taiwan.

Among other major markets, it opens in the U.K. and Mexico on Friday. The following weekend, the tentpole opens in 26 additional markets, including China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain.

Twitter: @PamelaDayM