Box Office: Iron Man 3 Takes Weekend Again, And Gatsby Does Great

Is this Iron Man 3, or a Ted spoof?

The principal actors of Marvel’s The Avengers played it smart last weekend when Iron Man 3 made its arrival to theaters in the US. They waited until the film had debuted with the second-highest opening of all-time behind, coincidentally enough, The Avengers opening the same weekend a year prior, before making with the salary grievances. But don’t take the rumble in Hollywood as a superhero mutiny or stop gap, more like a prologue to further negotiations. Taking a page from David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, Disney and Marvel would be smart to know their ABCs and Always Be Closing.

With Iron Man 3 nearing a cool billion worldwide, and the anticipated superhero adventure tales featuring Avengers’ Thor (Thor: The Dark World) and Captain America (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) expected to better their previous outings (Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger), the money will continue to increase for Disney making it that much more important that the stars of its biggest franchise are happy. Writer/director Joss Whedon is cool at playing off the early salary talks. The actors, while they may say they don’t want to be in the limelight and be the topic of articles and stories that run in Entertainment Weekly or some other star rag, or appear on Entertainment Tonight, they all know how important the franchise is for them careerwise. Mark Ruffalo, though mostly disguised by CGI when hulks up, is again relevant to most audiences, even though he’s been steadily acting alongside the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio (Shutter Island) and a pair of Oscar-nominated actresses (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore in The Kids Are Alright). Chris Evans is allowed to experiment in upcoming films like Snowpiercer and A Many Splintered Thing, and Chris Hemsworth will test his leading man status when he headlines Ron Howard’s racing drama Rush this fall.

As far as numbers go, domestically Iron Man 3 is resting comfortably with $284 million after two weekends. If it has healthy drops in the coming weeks with increased competition in terms of similar audiences (see: Star Trek Into Darkness) it has a shot of vaulting over the US totals of Spider-Man 3 and possibly the first Spider-Man if it can get to the $400 million mark. Nevertheless, since becoming an asset of Disney, the Marvel Studios releases have outperformed franchises X-Men and Spider-Man, which continue to see their returns drop.

The fallout of Iron Man 3‘s success means that Shane Black is going to be a hot commodity. Already, he inked a deal with Sony Pictures to develop his dream project of bringing famed pulp fiction icon Doc Savage to the silver screen. And while Robert Downey Jr. is almost assured a huge payday for any future installments where he goes by the name of Tony Stark or Iron Man, he’ll be taking it easy in between paychecks with a lot of zeros behind a number ranging from 5 to 9 doing the films The Judge and Chef, where he’ll be collaborating once again with his original Iron Man 1 & 2 director Jon Favreau.


Go ahead and drink up.

With Iron Man 3‘s repeat all but assured for this weekend, it’s surprising that The Great Gatsby had as good an opening that it did. It could have easily been a failure. Delays, reshoots, a post-production conversion to 3-D and bad buzz, The Great Gatsby 3D sounded like a bad concept. Factor in a rising budget reportedly going from $150 million to $200 for a classic novel that has already had three adaptations that are far from great, plus the fact that no Baz Luhrmann has grossed more than $60 million during its theatrical run (Moulin Rouge! earned $57 million) and a flop wouldn’t have been a surprise. If you follow box office history, the second weekend of the summer blockbuster season isn’t known for success. More like turdburgers in the form of Poseidon and last year’s Dark Shadows.

I was less than enthusiastic with my review, but I suspect it will be one of those films that becomes an international hit. The film is the opening night selection for the esteemed Cannes Film Festival and the French audience is surely going to eat it up as if Marie Antoinette had been resurrected and offered them cake. Stateside it should be able to make it to $100 million and once it does that it will be Leonardo DiCaprio’s fourth $100 million earner in three years. Granted, some of those hits will more than likely be because it was a Christopher Nolan or Quentin Tarantino picture, rather than due to DiCaprio’s star appeal. Still, Leo doesn’t command a huge salary. So, while Wesley Snipes may prefer you to bet on black, when it comes to the movie industry, it’s better to bet on Leo.

Outside of the top two films, the rest of the Top 10 was fairly weak. Three weeks in and Pain & Gain has made it past $40 million. It did just enough to stay above the Jackie Robinson biopic 42, which is closing in on $90 million and will make a play for nine-digit territory.

Having a soft debut was the Tyler Perry financed release Peeples. As Scott Sawitz remarked in his Monday Morning Critic column last Monday if your second lead is David Alan Grier, you’re not really trying that hard.

Floating in the ether of that spot were the lack of more summer titles leaves spring releases just weightless in the marketplace is Oblivion. It was the sixth choice for moviegoers over the weekend as it made its way past $80 million. If it can make it to $300 million worldwide, due mostly to international returns, it would be a so-so blockbuster. Maybe that’s why Tom Cruise was quick to announce that he would making yet another Mission: Impossible film bringing the franchise to five. No word on who the director will be, but Cruise is high on his frequent collaborator Christopher McQuarrie, who recently made Jack Reacher and was also the pen behind The Usual Suspects.

A lack of kid movies meant The Croods was still worthy of the top 10. It continues to attract pint-sized audiences and has already netted more than half a billion worldwide.

Upcoming this weekend we have Star Trek Into Darkness. As the only major release it means box office junk like #8 The Big Wedding will still be part of the top ten discussion this time next week.

I’m more impressed that the Roadside Attractions release Mud has been part of the top ten for two weekends in a row. It had some expansion to help propel it to $2.3 million for its three-day total. The film is nice counterprogramming to the bigger releases and poor offerings in the marketplace currently. Sadly, this is probably the last I’ll be discussing it in top ten.

Weekend Box-Office Top Ten for May 10 – May 12, 2013

1. Iron Man 3 (Disney) – $72.4 MILLION ($284.8 mil. cume)

2. The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros.) – $51.1 MILLION

3. Pain & Gain (Paramount) – $5 MILLION ($41.6 mil. cume)

4. Tyler Perry Presents Peeples (Lionsgate) – $4.85 MILLION

5. 42 (Warner Bros.) – $4.65 MILLION ($84.7 mil. cume)

6. Oblivion (Universal) – $3.86 MILLION ($81.6 mil. cume)

7. The Croods (Fox/DreamWorks Animation) – $3.6 MILLION ($173.2 mil. cume)

8. The Big Wedding (Lionsgate) – $2.5 MILLION ($18.28 mil. cume)

9. Mud (Roadside Attractions)- $2.3 MILLION ($8.3 mil. cume)

10. Oz The Great and Powerful (Disney) – $802K ($229.9 mil. cume)

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