Weekend Box Office: IRON MAN 3 Scores Second-Highest Opening Weekend Ever with $175.3 Million

     May 5, 2013


Everyone said it would be big and, for once, everyone was right. In its first three days, Iron Man 3 has earned an estimated $175.3 million, making it the second-highest domestic debut of all time behind The Avengers. Worldwide, the Marvel/Disney sequel has earned $504.8 million since its international roll-out began on April 24th, giving it an enormous global cume  of over $680 million in twelve days.

Here’s a look at the top five US openings of all time, including today’s Iron Man 3 estimate:

  Title Opening
1.   The Avengers   $207.4
2.   Iron Man 3   $175.3
3.   Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2   $169.1
4.   The Dark Knight Rises   $160.8
5.   The Dark Knight   $158.4

Hit the jump for more details, including the weekend’s top ten.

There’s little use in pretending that this weekend is about anything other than Iron Man 3 but, for formality’s sake, we should acknowledge that there were other choices at the multiplex this weekend…

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Iron Man 3 $175,300,000 $175.3
2.  Pain and Gain $7,600,000 $33.9
3.  42 $6,210,000 $78.3
4.  Oblivion $5,800,000 $75.9
5.  The Croods $4,225,000 $178.7
6.  The Big Wedding $3,875,000 $14.2
7.  Oz the Great & Powerful $1,822,000 $228.5
8.  Scary Movie 5 $1,435,000 $29.6
9.  The Place Beyond the Pines $1,298,000 $18.6
10.  G.I. Joe: Retaliation $1,275,000 $118.7


Iron-Man-3-IMAX-posterClearly, Iron Man 3 ended up as precisely the sort of ‘event’ picture that summer is all about. With $175.3 million from 4,253 locations, (23 times what Pain & Gain earned in second place) Iron Man 3 came in on the high side of projections, which had been bouncing between $150 and $180 million since its Thursday night previews began.

If the final number was somewhat uncertain, it was always clear that Iron Man 3 would top its predecessor’s opening weekend. Back in 2010, Iron Man 2 launched with $128.1 million – a big jump from the $98.6 million of the original Iron Man. Of course, Iron Man 3 was always destined to be more than the third act of a popular superhero franchise. It was also a sequel, of sorts, to last year’s The Avengers and interest in that title undoubtedly helped propel Iron Man 3 past Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on the all-time domestic chart.

In the all-important overseas market, Iron Man 3 has been equally impressive. Beginning its global roll-out twelve days ago, the sequel opened in first place in all of its 54 territories and set records for the biggest opening ever in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region. The film’s giant $680 million worldwide haul means that, even with a reported budget of $200 million, Iron Man 3 is already, by far, the most successful title of 2013 – news which should come as a shock to no one.

At this point, the only real question mark left is how high Iron Man 3’s final grosses will climb. With very few exceptions, the third installment of any franchise ends up earning less than its predecessors at the domestic box office.  In the case of the Iron Man series, the first two films earned $318.4 and $312.4 million in the US, respectively, so it is safe to say that Iron Man 3 will prove the exception to the three-quel rule. The film has already eclipsed both its forerunners on the worldwide market, and is close to becoming the first release of 2013 to pass $1 billion in global sales.

After waiting all year for Iron Man 3 to resuscitate the domestic box office, audiences are unlikely to lose interest by next weekend.  Iron Man 3 is guaranteed to stay in first place for a second frame and should wind up with the second-highest second weekend in box office history (behind The Avengers, of course). That means that Baz Luhrmann’s 3D version of The Great Gatsby will be badly overshadowed but, if we’re being honest, no one expected another outcome.


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