Box Office Report: 'Man of Steel' Opens to Stellar $21 Million Thursday Night

Warner Bros. Pictures
"Man of Steel"

Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan's Superman pic took in $12 million from special Walmart screenings and $9 million in midnight runs.

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' much-anticipated Man of Steel opened to $21 million in select Thursday night runs before opening everywhere in North America Friday morning.

The grosses were a combination of $12 million from special screenings Thursday night co-hosted by Walmart and Warners and $9 million from midnight runs.

Directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan, Man of Steel bested the $15.6 million scored earlier this summer by Iron Man 3 as it began rolling out Thursday night.

Last summer, Nolan's Batman entry The Dark Knight Rises grossed $30.6 million in midnight runs, the second-best number of all time behind the final Harry Potter pic ($43.5 million). Both were Warners titles.

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Box-office observers expect Man of Steel to open in the $85 million-to-$100 million range domestically, 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 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.

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.

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.

Twitter: @PamelaDayM