Superheroes continue to rule at the box office.
After last year, when Marvel's The Avengers took the #1 spot at the domestic box office, The Dark Knight Rises came in at #2 and The Amazing Spider-Man was in the top ten (at #7) for the year, Man of Steel has overtaken Fast & Furious 6 and Oz the Great and Powerful to take the #2 spot at the box office behind Iron Man 3.
The film generated $8.2 million yesterday, according to Deadline's estimates, which puts it well clear of $813,000 it needed to take step into the second spot on the year-to-date box office. It also made 36% more on Saturday than it did on Friday, suggesting that it may still have some life in it. With the Fourth of July weekend coming up, the film might have a strong showing considering that it's generally a big weekend for big, loud ovies...but it will have to compete not only with what's already in theaters right now but also with The Lone Ranger and Despicable Me 2.
It should be noted that while these are obviously not guaranteed to stand as the top movies of the year, recent trends suggest they're likely to do so. With six months left to go in the year, there's a chance that something else could sneak in and claim the #1 or #2 spot, but the odds are against it (and frankly there's maybe one or two movies left that are expected to generate this kind of revenue). Not only are Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel roughly on pace to meet or exceed everything #4 and lower on last year's (exceptional) charts, and both of them will likely challenge or equal The Hunger Games ($408 million, which outpaced Man of Steel in its first three weeks), but considering how late in the run it is for Iron Man 3 and how much Man of Steel would have to generate in later showings, that might hold its ground. At $304 million, Skyfall (last year's #4) will probably be outpaced in the next two weeks or so.
Add to that the fact that the top two movies in each year since 2010 have been released theatrically by mid-July and you have a relatively small window of time before anything passing these films would be a statistical anomaly. Each of the movies expected to really perform in July ends up releasing on the same day as another anticipated hit, too, which complicates efforts by movies like Despicable Me 2 and Pacific Rim to throw their hats in the ring. The Wolverine, coming in late July, will almost certainly be a hit, but probably more on the order of Fast & Furious 6 than Iron Man 3.
That said, this year could see some surprisingly strong hits coming later in the year--both Thor: The Dark World and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will deliver in November, for example, and the last time a movie cracked the top three without being released in July or earlier was the November-released Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn by the studio behind The Hunger Games.