Box Office Report: Sony's 'This Is the End' Tops Wednesday With Strong $7.8 Million

This Is The End McBride Rogen Franco Dancing - H 2013
Columbia Pictures

This Is The End McBride Rogen Franco Dancing - H 2013

Superman pic "Man of Steel" also makes headlines as it begins its worldwide assault, breaking records in the Philippines on Wednesday.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's This Is the End topped the Wednesday box-office chart in North America with a stellar opening gross of $7.8 million.

The R-rated end-of-the-world comedy -- marking the directorial debut of Goldberg and Rogen -- is on course for a five-day debut in the low- to mid-$30 million range, even with the onslaught of Superman pic Man of Steel, which begins rolling out domestically Thursday night before playing everywhere Friday morning.

Opening-day grosses for This Is the End include $2.2 million in select Tuesday night runs.

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Starring Rogen opposite Jonah Hill, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera and Emma Watson, the movie hopes to serve as counterprogramming to Man of Steel, from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures.

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.

This Is the End, which will play in more than 2,900 theaters, also features several other cameos during the early scenes at Franco's house party, including appearances by Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Jason Segel, Paul Rudd and Kevin Hart.

In terms of sheer gross, the comedy will be eclipsed once the highly anticipated Man of Steel debuts. Zack Snyder's superhero action film is produced by Christopher Nolan and stars British actor Henry Cavill in the title role. The film is opening day and date in a slew of foreign markets.

The Superman tentpole opened in the Philippines on Wednesday, shattering records and scoring the biggest opening day of all time with $1.7 million (Wednesday was Independence Day).

Among other major international markets, Man of Steel opens in the U.K. and Mexico on Friday. The following weekend, the $225 million tentpole opens in 26 additional markets, including China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain.

Based on tracking, box-office observers are predicting a North American debut in the $85 million-to-$100 million range.

The origin pic also stars Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and Michael Shannon takes on the role of the menacing General Zod.

Twitter: @PamelaDayM