"Superman" Cape Fear

7/3/2006 10:02 AM PDT

"Superman" Cape Fear

The Man of Steel's return to theaters was less than triumphant, while "The Devil Wears Prada" made an utterly surprising – and record-setting – showing in the July 4th weekend box office race.

"Superman Returns" brought in $52.15 million in its opening weekend, according to studio estimates, giving the picture a cumulative five-day total of $84.2 million. That's only slightly over half the gross that the all-time five-day champ, "Spider-Man 2," took in when it made $152.4 million over the same weekend in 2004, putting any questions about "Superman"'s possible supremacy over the web-slinger at the ticket booth to rest.

The fashionistas of "Devil," on the other hand, completely exceeded all expectations for that movie's opening weekend, bringing in $27 million over its first three days, when most analysts were expecting a less-than-$20-million debut. It was the best-ever second-place performance over a July 4th weekend, and the second-highest gross for a picture released against a major blockbuster release, after the Julia Roberts comedy "America's Sweethearts," which took in $30 million against the opening of "Jurassic Park III" in 2001.

Last weekend's top earner, Adam Sandler's "Click," came in third place with $19.4 million, which upped its total to $77.9 million, and Pixar's "Cars" rolled in with $14 million, bringing its haul after 4 weeks of release to $182 million. Jack Black's "Nacho Libre" rounded out the top five with $6.1 million, for a total of $64.9 million.

"Superman Returns" did beat another superhero resurrection, last year's "Batman Begins," which made $72.9 million in its first five days. But the trend for its opening five days, with daily grosses dropping each day, is a troubling one for Warner Brothers, and making back its reported $220 million budget via the domestic box office will be a task even the world's most invincible man will find difficult to complete.