Box Office: Iron Man 3 Cashes In With Second-Biggest Opening All Time

IRON MAN 3

What you can’t see is Iron Man watching a marathon of The Jetsons. IM loves him some Rosie.

I think it is safe to say that there’s Marvel and everyone else at this point. Seriously. Marvel Studios is on a whole different plateau compared to the majo studios around. Granted, all Marvel has to worry about are churning out a few comic book movies each year while the Universals, Foxes, and Paramounts of the world have to contend with a slate of 20+ films for a given year consisting of comedies, dramas and everything in between. But the studio is such a well-oiled machine that it’s hard to argue with its track record. The only comparison would be Pixar. Oh, did I mention both entities are owned by Disney. Just another reason to either love or loathe Mickey Mouse.

A year after Marvel’s The Avengers set the record for the biggest weekend in box office history, Iron Man 3 arrives to provide the second best. The wave of monetary success began in 2008 with the release of Iron Man and it has continued into a successful franchise with two sequels and an ultra-successful brand (The Avengers). It would be easy to assume that everyone who saw and enjoyed Joss Whedon’s superhero team last year showed up to see Robert Downey Jr. do his Tony Stark/Iron Man schtick this go around. But if that were the case the the film should have also made in the vicinity of $200 million. Maybe there are those who saw The Avengers that are bigger fans of Captain America or Thor.

The $173 million three-day total was enough to surpass the $169 million taken in by 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 to give Marvel the best and second-best openings of all time. Tracking the opening weekends in box office history, Marvel now has seven of the top 25 opening weekends. Expect this number to increase through 2015’s The Avengers 2. It will be interesting to see how well Thor: The Dark World (November 2013) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 2014) do in the wake of the success of The Avengers. Their original films were successful, but you just know that Kevin Feige (President of Production at Marvel Studios) is hoping for opening numbers that top $80 million-plus.

Iron Man 3 was the first time the franchise was presented in 3-D and that extra surcharge helped in making up for any lost ticket sales. But in my neck of the woods the 2-D presentations were getting more of a turnout. The lone exception would be a Cinemark theater’s presentation in its coveted XD, Extreme Digital Cinema – auditoriums that seat nearly 600 persons. One afternoon showtime of IM3 in 3-D had more than 450 in attendance. Mind you, those tickets usually go for $12 to $15 ea.

Worldwide the film has already grossed $680 million in less than two weeks. Comparatively, Iron Man 2 made $623 million during its entire theatrical run. I think it is safe to assume we have our first billion-dollar earner for 2013, the second in two years for Marvel and Disney.

Those who saw the film this weekend it looks like it could be the end of the Iron Man franchise for Robert Downey Jr. He’s rumored as much with candid interviews of late. Though if a big enough Brinks truck were to somehow find its way in RDJ’s driveaway who’s to say that the near fifty-year-old actor wouldn’t want to play Tony Stark a few more times (aside from the aforementioned The Avengers 2).

With so much Iron Man 3 talk you would assume that everyone and their neighbor went to see that film and nothing else this past weekend. As young males flocked to see RDJ as Iron Man, Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain took a big hit, falling 62% from last week’s $20 million opening. Despite having its fans, word-of-mouth was mixed as was critical reception. Sadly, it will be Bay’s lowest-grossing film since The Island, but is still his second-best film overall behind The Rock. Not really helping the situation is the fact that Bay will back making Transformers films again. Hip hip hooray (sarcastic).

42 continues to do well with general audiences. Currently sitting at $78 million, it will have to fend off some tough blockbuster competition if it wants to get to that $100 million mark. And if it wants to become the highest-grossing baseball film of all time it would need to surpass $107 million, the number A League of Their Own banked back in 1992.

Tom Cruise’s Oblivion continues to have the wind knocked out of its sails. Despite carrying decent numbers overseas, it once again proves that Tom Cruise isn’t the tentpole draw he once was. The last time he carried a film to more than $100 million domestic that was a non-franchise was 2005’s War of the Worlds. Cruise’s next, All You Need is Kill from Doug Liman, suggests more of the same, but he’s always got a fifth Mission: Impossible to fall back on.

Seven weeks in and The Croods is doing very well for Fox and DreamWorks Animation, especially internationally. It may not cross $200 million domestic, but it has already surpassed more than half one billion worldwide. In the battle of Oscar winners, it looks like Nicolas Cage has won this round over the likes of Robert De Niro and The Big Wedding. It took a sizeable drop in its second weekend and if Lionsgate had its way it would be available at Redbox just in time for Mothers Day.

With Iron Man 3 dominating the marketplace it allowed for some films to jump back into the top 10. This includes Oz The Great and Powerful. What’s strange is that it’s rare to see a film to drop a few hundred screens and increase its box office performance in its ninth weekend. I say that’s mostly on account for the quality of films that were circling the bottom of the top 10 a week prior. Stuff like G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Olympus Has Fallen. Sadly, Scary Movie 5 is still in the top 10. Better news is that expansion of Jeff Nichols’ Mud had it finishing with $2.15 million. The other counterprogrammer, The Place Beyond the Pines, rounds out the top ten with a gross of $1.3 million.


Weekend Box-Office Top Ten for May 3 – May 5, 2013

1. Iron Man 3 (Disney) – $175.3 MILLION

2. Pain & Gain (Paramount) – $7.6 MILLION ($34 mil. cume)

3. 42 (Warner Bros.) – $6.2 MILLION ($78.3 mil. cume)

4. Oblivion (Universal) – $5.7 MILLION ($76 mil. cume)

5. The Croods (Fox/DreamWorks Animation) – $4.2 MILLION ($168.7 mil. cume)

6. The Big Wedding (Lionsgate) – $3.87 MILLION ($14.2 mil. cume)

7. Mud (Roadside Attractions)- $2.15 MILLION ($5.1 mil. cume)

8. Oz The Great and Powerful (Disney) – $1.8 MILLION ($228.5 mil. cume)

9. Scary Movie 5 (The Weinstein Company) – $1.4 MILLION ($29.6 mil. cume)

10. The Place Beyond the Pines (Focus) – $1.3 MILLION ($18.6 mil. cume)

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