Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 04-29-13

Henry Cavill as the next Superman in “Man of Steel”

Henry Cavill as the next Superman in “Man of Steel”

“Iron Man 3” – In theaters May 3rd

“Iron Man 3” – In theaters May 3rd

Star of “Iron Man 3,” Robert Downey Jr., signs autographs at the film’s premiere at the El Capitan Theatre

Star of “Iron Man 3,” Robert Downey Jr., signs autographs at the film’s premiere at the El Capitan Theatre

Metallic men: Films starring two classic comic book metallic men will be magnets for boxoffice gold this summer.

Between “Iron Man 3” and “Man of Steel,” Hollywood has two big building blocks for a summer movie season that could hit boxoffice heights.

This weekend will see Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures' PG-13 rated 3D sci-fi action adventure "Iron Man 3," released through Walt Disney Pictures, kick off the pre-summer. Directed by Shane Black (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”), it stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Guy Pearce.

The Story: Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man & Tony Stark faces The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. With Stark's back to the wall, he finally learns if the man makes the suit or the suit makes the man.

"IM3's" tracking through the roof with hefty double digit first choice scores that are right where Marvel and Disney's 3D sci-fi action adventure “The Avengers” was when it hit theatres last May 4. "Avengers" arrived to an extraordinary $207.4 million and ended up doing $623.4 million in domestic theatres.

"IM3's" greatest strength in tracking reports is with under-25 males and it's doing nearly as well with over-25 males. The film's total awareness is an incredibly high mid-90s percentage that's also almost exactly where "Avengers" was a year ago.

Hollywood handicappers are talking about "IM3" opening to $150 million or more. Disney's already opened it internationally to spectacular grosses – about $193.5 million from 42 territories representing 79 percent of the international marketplace.

"IM3" set international records for the biggest opening weekend ever in Argentina, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.

China, which is Hollywood's biggest international market, will get to see "IM3" starting May 3, day and date with its U.S. release. In China, the film's being released by Disney, Marvel and the Chinese distributor DMG Entertainment. Adding to the movie's huge potential at the Chinese boxoffice is the fact that its cast includes two familiar Chinese stars – Wang Xueqi and Fan Bing Bing.

The "Iron Man" franchise's first two episodes, which were distributed by Paramount, grossed nearly $631 million in domestic theatres. The last one, “Iron Man 2,” opened May 7, 2010 to $128.1 million and went on to gross $312.4 million domestically.

Hollywood's next metallic boxoffice shot in the arm will come June 14 with Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures and DC Entertainment's 3D fantasy action adventure “Man of Steel.” Directed by Zack Snyder (“Watchmen”), it stars Henry Cavill as Clark Kent and Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Russell Crowe as Jor-El.

The Story: As a young boy, Clark Kent learns he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. Later, he journeys to discover his origins and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he's to save the world from annihilation.

While it's too early for "Steel" to be on tracking reports, it's been generating a strong early buzz since the CinemaCon trade show in Las Vegas in mid-April where Warner Bros. world premiered its trailer.

In introducing "Steel's" trailer, director Zack Snyder told the assembled theatre owners about Superman: "There's no competition between superheroes, but if there was, he'd win."

"Steel's" trailer has since started playing in theatres with Universal's Tom Cruise sci-fi hit “Oblivion,” which after two weeks has grossed $64.7 million.

Warner Bros.' Superman franchise includes five titles going back to 1978's “Superman.” Together they've grossed $518.1 million in domestic theatres. The last episode, “Superman Returns,” opened June 28, 2006 to $52.5 million and wound up grossing $200.1 million domestically.

Bottom line: Hollywood loves precious metal and this summer that means Iron Man and Superman.