The Man of Steel soared overthe box office but not the record books as Warner Bros' Superman Returns added an estimated $52.2m over three days to raisethe five-day tally to $84.2m.
While the result was nowherenear the five-day mark of $152.4m set by Sony's Spider-Man 2 exactly two years ago, it establishes an effectivefoothold as the country heads into Tuesday's July 4 national holiday.
The extended weekend and thefact that Bryan Singer's 154-minute epic is drawing strong word of mouth arevital tools for Warner Bros executives as they seek to build momentum ahead ofFriday's launch of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Approximately $5m of the gross came from 76 IMAXscreens.
In Superman Returns the caped hero returns from a lengthy intergalactictrip to the shattered remains of planet Krypton and realises he has a battle onhis hands to stop the megalomaniacal Lex Luthor and win back the affections ofLois Lane.
Newcomer Brandon Routh starsalongside Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, Parker Posey, James Marsden, and FrankLangella.
Fox's comedy The DevilWears Prada opened in second placeon a surprisingly high $27m. Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway star as an icyfashion magazine maven and her new assistant who develop an unlikely mutualrespect. David Frankel directed.
Overall box office climbedfor the seventh consecutive weekend as the top 12 titles combined for a$140.1m, a rise of 5% compared to the same weekend of 2005. If estimates areconfirmed this will be the second biggest July 4 weekend of all time behind2004's $158.4m.
Sony's comedy Click fell two places to third on $19.4m for $77.9m aftertwo weekends, while Buena Vista's Cars ranks fourth on $182.1m after four. Rounding out the top five isParamount's comedy Nacho Libre on$64.9m after three.
Next weekend's only widerelease is Buena Vista's adventure sequel Pirates Of The Caribbean: DeadMan's Chest starring Johnny Depp,Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.
Estimated Top Ten NorthAmerica Jun 30-Jul 2, 2006
Film(Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend
gross/Estimated total todate
1 (-) Superman Returns (Warner Bros) WBPI $52.2m $84.2m
2 (-) The Devil WearsPrada (Fox) Fox Int'l $27m -
3 (1) Click (Sony) SPRI $19.4m $77.9m
4 (2) Cars (Buena Vista/Pixar) BVI $14m $182.1m
5 (3) Nacho Libre (Paramount) UIP $6.2m $64.9m
6 (6) The Lake House (Warner Bros) WBPI/Village Roadshow $4.5m $38.7m
7 (4) The Fast And TheFurious: Tokyo Drift (Universal) UIP$4.4m $51.7m
8 (4) Waist Deep (Rogue) Focus Features Int'l $3.3m $15.2m
9 (7) The Break-Up (Universal) UIP $2.8m $110.1m