Warner Bros.' "Man of Steel" made its debut in China on Thursday and took in about $5.9 million at the box office.
That puts the 3-D film from director Zack Snyder on track to far outpace the last "Superman" picture's run in China. "Superman Returns," released in 2006, grossed $8 million over its entire run in the country.
But "Man of Steel" made far less on its debut day than another summer blockbuster.
Walt Disney Co.'s "Iron Man 3," which opened in China on May 1, took in a record $21 million that day. But "Iron Man 3" opened on China's Labor Day holiday, whereas "Man of Steel" opened on a weeknight.
In advance of the film's Chinese debut, some observers wondered whether "Man of Steel," which cost about $225 million to produce, would find a large audience in China.
Mathew Alderson, a Beijing-based entertainment attorney with the law firm Harris & Moure, told the Los Angeles Times last week that while he didn't expect the picture to incite “censorship concerns,” it could include themes that prove problematic to China audiences.
“[It] may well be distasteful to the authorities or unappealing to Chinese audiences by reason of the message it sends about U.S. power,” said Alderson, who hadn't seen the movie, in an email interview. “Like any people, the Chinese want their own heroes.”
"Man of Steel" grossed $113.1 million domestically over its debut weekend -- good for the biggest June bow ever.
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