'Iron Man 3' Claims Second Largest All-Time Debut

on May 06, 2013 by Daniel Garris

Disney's Iron Man 3 kicked off the summer movie season in a big way with a massive opening weekend take of $174.14 million. The performance exceeded the already lofty pre-release expectations for the highly anticipated superhero sequel starring Robert Downey Jr. (which had tended to fall in the $150 million to $170 million range). In the process Iron Man 3 scored the second largest opening weekend performance of all-time (behind only the $207.44 million start of last year's Marvel's The Avengers and ahead of the $169.19 million take of 2011's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2). There is no doubt that the goodwill with audiences created by The Avengers helped out Iron Man 3 this weekend, as did the franchise's move to 3D. Without taking into account ticket price inflation, Iron Man 3 opened 36 percent stronger than the $128.12 million debut of 2010's Iron Man 2 and 15 percent stronger than the $151.12 million start of 2007's Spider-Man 3.

A full list of the largest unadjusted opening weekends of all-time can be found here.

A very encouraging early sign for Iron Man 3 is that the film held up surprisingly well on Saturday. After opening with $68.86 million on Friday (which included $15.6 million from late night Thursday showings), Iron Man 3 fell just 9.6 percent on Saturday to gross $62.27 million. That was a stronger first Saturday percentage hold than The Avengers experienced (it fell 14 percent) and could be an early sign that Iron Man 3 is skewing even heavier towards family audiences than The Avengers did. It is also likely a sign of strong early word of mouth (the film received a healthy A rating on CinemaScore). The strong Saturday hold also likely had a bit to do with Cinco de Mayo falling on Sunday as well, as the film did fall 31 percent on Sunday to gross $43.01 million. Iron Man 3 generated an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.53 to 1 (The Avengers generated an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.57 to 1 thanks to a stronger Sunday hold).  IMAX grosses were responsible for $15.6 million (8.96 percent) of this weekend's total domestic gross.

Iron Man 3 remained very strong overseas this weekend, as it grossed $175.9 million from 54 foreign markets. That brings the film's overseas total to $504.8 million and current global haul to a mighty $678.9 million.

In other box office news, most holdovers took massive hits from Iron Man 3 this weekend. Paramount's Pain and Gain fell 63 percent to place in second with $7.51 million, while Universal's Oblivion fell an even sharper 68 percent to land in fourth with $5.64 million. Respective total grosses stand at $75.81 million for Oblivion through 17 days and at $33.83 million for Pain and Gain through ten days. With Paramount's launch of Star Trek Into Darkness in the near horizon, the pair of high-profile late April releases will continue to face harsh direct competition going forward.

On the other hand, Warner's 42 held up significantly better this weekend. The well-received Jackie Robinson biopic was down a much more modest 43 percent to take third place with $5.64 million. In the process, 42 has now surpassed the $75.61 million final domestic gross of 2011's Moneyball. With a 24-day total of $78.18 million, 42 is currently $21.82 million away from reaching the $100 million domestic milestone; though the film will need to start holding up a bit better if it is to get there. After a rough start to 2013, Warner Bros. will hope to make it two success stories in a row when it releases The Great Gatsby this coming Friday.

On the limited front, Roadside's Mud continued its solid box office run with $2.16 million. That represented a slim 3 percent decline from last weekend and was good enough to place the film in seventh place among all films this weekend. Mud was helped out this weekend by expanding into an additional 213 locations. The ten-day total for the drama starring Matthew McConaughey stands at $5.17 million.

With a weekend take of $0.897 million, the lifetime unadjusted domestic gross for Jurassic Park has now surpassed the $400 million mark. Jurassic Park 3D has grossed $43.76 million to date, which brings the lifetime domestic gross for Jurassic Park to $400.82 million.

Tags: Jurassic Park 3D, Mud, 42, Oblivion, Pain and Gain, Iron Man 3

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