Box Office: 'Batman v. Superman' headed for record $160M-$175M debut

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Film Clip: 'Batman V. Superman'


Batman and Superman are proving a huge draw in their first meeting on the big screen.

Zack Snyder's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice -- starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill -- is off to a superhero-sized start at the North American box office, where it's on course to earn $78 million-$83 million on Friday for a weekend take of $160 million-$170 million, putting it among the top five superhero films of all time, according to early returns. Some even are betting it could hit $175 million.

Either way, BvS looks to easily best the $152.2 million debut of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in 2013 to mark the best March opening of all time. The movie, costing at least $250 million to make before marketing, is a defining moment for Warner Bros. as it looks to both improve its box-office fortunes and launch the DC Entertainment cinematic universe.

Friday's haul will include $27.7 million in Thursday night previews, the seventh-best preview gross in history, besting Avengers: Age of Ultron's $27.6 million (Star Wars: The Force Awakens set a new record for previews in December when it took in $57 million). BvS now also holds the highest Thursday preshow score for Easter weekend, eclipsing the $15.8 million earned by Furious 7 last year. Of its $27.7 million tally, $3.6 million comes from Imax (which is also their largest Easter preshow number ever).

See photos from "Batman v Superman":

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Box Office: 'Batman v. Superman' headed for record $160M-$175M debut
This photo provided by Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics shows, Gal Gadot, as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, in the action adventure film, "Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. The movie releases March 25, 2016. (Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Comics via AP)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 08: A view of atmosphere on the set of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' on August 8, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Paul Warner/GC Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 08: A view of atmosphere on the set of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' on August 8, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Paul Warner/GC Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 08: Director Zack Snyder on the set of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' on August 8, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Paul Warner/GC Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 07: A view of atmosphere on the set of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' on August 7, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Paul Warner/GC Images)
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Read More: 'Batman v. Superman': What's Next for the Justice League's Future? (Spoilers)

The superhero film is opening around the globe, including in China, where early Friday shows already have grossed a strong $21.2 million. BvS began rolling out Wednesday in select markets, grossing $44 million in its first two days for an early foreign cume of $44 million and a global tally of $71.7 million. The movie is prospering in Europe, where it scored the biggest opening day of the year to date, beating Deadpool. And in Germany and several smaller markets, it scored the biggest opening day of all time for a superhero movie.

BvS sees Batman (Affleck) and Superman (Cavill) battling it out as Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) brings to life another deadly threat to the world. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) makes her first appearance ahead of getting her own stand-alone movie next year.

Warners' first Superman film starring Cavill, Man of Steel, which opened in June 2013, earned $9 million Thursday night (plus $12 million from special screenings co-hosted by Walmart and Warners), and went on to earn $116.6 million in its domestic debut.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, the follow-up the 2002 original hit, is the only other new release over Easter weekend and hopes to be a big draw for older women not so interested in the showdown between the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel. The Universal sequel, written by and starring Nia Vardalos, is expected to open in the $10 million-$15 million range. Gold Circle Entertainment, HBO and Playtone produced the film.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 nabbed a solid $1.02 million on Thursday from 2,395 theaters after showings began at 6 p.m.

See photos from the "Batman v Superman" premiere:

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Box Office: 'Batman v. Superman' headed for record $160M-$175M debut
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Gal Gadot attends the European Premiere of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Gal Gadot attends the European Premiere of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Amy Adams attends the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Ben Affleck attends the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Henry Cavill attends the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Jesse Eisenberg attends the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: (L-R) Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Holly Hunter and Jesse Eisenberg attend the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Olivia Inge arrives for the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Amy Adams attends the European Premiere of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Amy Adams attends the European Premiere of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Sarah Harding attends the European Premiere of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Holly Hunter attends the European Premiere of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Ferne McCann arrives for the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20: Will Smith and Henry Cavill attend the 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' New York premiere at Radio City Music Hall on March 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and Henry Cavill attend the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Andy Serkis and Lorraine Ashbourne attend the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
US film director Zack Snyder (L) and his wife US film producer Deborah Snyder pose for a photograph after arriving to attend the European Premiere of the film 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice', in central London on March 22, 2016. / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Henry Cavill (L) and Ben Affleck attend the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Henry Cavill attends the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: (L-R) Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and Henry Cavill attend the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Sarah-Jane Crawford attends the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Ben Affleck attends the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
US actor Ben Affleck poses for a photograph after arriving to attend the European Premiere of the film 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice', in central London on March 22, 2016. / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
US film producer Charles Roven (L) and his wife Stephanie Haymes pose for a photographs after arriving to attend the European Premiere of the film 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice', in central London on March 22, 2016. / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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