"Man of Steel," Warner Bros.' first Superman adventure in seven years, earned $9 million at its Thursday midnight bow and a corporate group sale screening program, taking in $12 million for a total of $21 million.
The take bests the $15.6 million "Iron Man 3" earned in its Thursday night opening last month.
The Zack Snyder-directed reboot starring Henry Cavill as the superhero has gotten mixed reviews, scoring a 59% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is expected to make $90 million to $100 million by the end of the weekend.
The last entry in the franchise, 2006's "Superman Returns," grossed $391.1 million worldwide.