Box Office Preview: 'Man of Steel' Breaks Records in Asia, Lands in U.S. Thursday Night

Man of Steel General Zod Shannon Close Up - H 2013
Warner Bros. Pictures

Man of Steel General Zod Shannon Close Up - H 2013

UPDATED: Zack Snyder's Superman origin pic stars Henry Cavill as the man of tomorrow and Amy Adams as Lois Lane; Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring" and "20 Feet from Stardom" debut at the specialty box office.

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' much-anticipated Man of Steel is already off to a record-breaking start in Southeast Asia, where the superhero tentpole scored the biggest opening day of all time in the Philippines and the biggest opening day for a Warners film in Taiwan.

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Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan, begins rolling out at the North American box office Thursday night before playing everywhere on Friday. Box-office observers expect the $225 million film to open in the $85 million-to-$100 million range, although Warners is being more conservative and projecting an $80 million bow.

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

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 by he and 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.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's This Is the End, the weekend's other new offering, debuted Wednesday in order to get a jump on Man of Steel. The Sony comedy is overperforming so far, posting an opening-day gross of $7.8 million and putting it on course for a five-day debut in the low- to mid-$30 million range.

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Marking the directorial debut of Rogen and Goldberg, This Is the End stars Rogen opposite Jonah Hill, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera and Emma Watson.

In the raunchy comedy, the actors -- all playing fictional versions of themselves -- are attending a star-studded party at Franco's house when the apocalypse begins and they're forced to work together to survive. The feature is based on a short film created by Rogen and Baruchel in 2007 titled Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse. Rogen and Goldberg also co-wrote the scripts for Superbad, The Green Hornet and The Watch.

New entires at the specialty box office include Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, which A24 Films opens in five theaters, and The Weinstein Co.'s documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.

Twitter: @PamelaDayM