Foreign Box Office: 'Man of Steel' Big in U.K., Pushing Overseas Total to $25.9 Mil

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

Man of Steel General Zod Shannon - H 2013

The decision to cast British actor Henry Cavill as Superman is paying off in his home country, where the tentpole scores the best opening-day gross of 2013 so far.

Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan's Man of Steel grossed $17.6 million at the foreign box office on Friday, scoring some of the best numbers ever for a superhero film in the U.K. and pushing the tentpole's three-day total to $25.9 million.

That puts Man of Steel's worldwide cume at $82 million through Friday when accounting for the $56.1 million earned so far in North America, where it is headed for a weekend debut in the $125 million range. The tentpole's performance is a victory for Warner Bros. and Legendary as they look to resurrect the marquee franchise.

BOX OFFICE REPORT: 'Man of Steel' Scores With Early Total of $56.1 Million 

Man of Steel, costing at least $225 million to produce, is opening in a total of 24 foreign markets this weekend and is ranking No. 1 in all.

Notably, the 3D movie -- starring British actor Henry Cavill -- grossed $5.2 million in the U.K., pacing ahead of blockbuster Iron Man 3 to score the best opening day of 2013 so far. Man of Steel captured 70 percent of the market and performed on par with last year's superhero extravaganza The Avengers.

In terms of other superhero pics, Man of Steel came in 88 percent ahead of The Amazing Spider-Man, 11 percent ahead of Iron Man 3 and 17 percent ahead of The Dark Knight.

Mexico and South Korea are the two other major markets where Man of Steel is debuting this weekend. It grossed $2.8 million in Mexico to score the third-biggest opening day for a Warners film, behind only The Dark Knight Rises and the final Harry Potter pic.

Man of Steel has taken in $2.8 million in its first two days of play in South Korea, and continues to do stellar business in the Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia, all emerging markets.

Elsewhere, it opened to $626,000 in the United Arab Emirates, the top opening ever for a Warners film.

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.

Next weekend, Man of Steel opens in 26 additional markets, including China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain.

Twitter: @PamelaDayM