Iron Man 3 Avenges Box Office
By John Hamann
May 5, 2013
Saturday was the key to Iron Man 3’s overall weekend. To land as a top three opener of all-time, the three-quel needed to either meet or beat the Friday gross (with the midnight returns removed). Doing so would give Iron Man 3 the weekend multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday gross) it needed to get beyond The Dark Knight Rises, which took in $160.9 million over its first three days. The less likely scenario was surpassing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two's $169.2 million. As you already know, Iron Man 3 sustained more than enough momentum to best both performances.
The Saturday number came in at $64 million, 21% higher than Friday’s "true" gross. That gives Iron Man 3 the second biggest Saturday gross of all time, behind only The Avengers ($69.6 million Saturday) and far ahead of the former number two, Spider-Man 3, which brought in $51.3 million on its first Saturday. The Sunday amount is then estimated at $43 million, and leaves Iron Man 3 with a weekend gross of $175.3 million. That’s the second biggest opening of all-time, behind only The Avengers' whopping $207.4 million. Yes, Disney's first two Marvel releases are also the two best box office opening weekends of all time. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight Rises now drop to third and fourth place, respectively. Iron Man is the new Batman. Also, Shane Black and Joss Whedon now claim the top two domestic opening weekends. Not bad for a couple of writers.
With Disney now in control of the Marvel Universe, and Paramount out, one can already see where the Disney influence is taking control. The powerhouse that is the Disney marketing machine had international audiences foaming at the mouth before Tony Stark and friends hit movie screens. Robert Downey Jr. made appearances in dozens of international cities, and the filmmakers put scenes of the film shot in China into the Chinese version, which weren’t shown domestically.
Overseas audiences are treating Iron Man 3 like it’s an Avengers sequel, as Iron Man 3 has already out-grossed Iron Man 2 overseas. Iron Man 2 had an overall foreign take of $311.5 million, and was actually outgrossed domestically by the original Iron Man, as the sequel earned $312.4 million stateside. The first two titles earned $578.3 million abroad. To say Paramount left money on the table overseas with Iron Man is the biggest of understatements.
By comparison, Iron Man 3 has grossed $504.8 million overseas after only 10 days. It should match the combined totals of the prior Iron Man movies by the middle of the week. I don’t believe that the Disney influence changed the content of this Iron Man very much, but it has definitely changed the marketing, and ultimately, the business of Iron Man. The Avengers earned $888 million overseas, and Iron Man 3 has a real chance to best that total. It is a mortal lock to become the 17th movie to join the billion dollar movie club. Entrance into the top five would require global revenue in excess of $1.12 billion. Iron Man is 60% of the way there after 10 days. There are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to distinguish the early accomplishments of Iron Man 3.