By John Horn
10:56 AM CDT, May 5, 2013
"Iron Man 3" surpassed everything except "The Avengers."
The third Tony Stark movie from Disney’s Marvel Studios enjoyed the second-best opening in box-office history, grossing an estimated $175.3 million in its debut weekend, Disney said Sunday. That debut could help start to reverse a very slow year in local theaters, where revenues and admissions are down about 12% from 2012.
"Iron Man 3" appeared to benefit from strong family attendance and positive audience recommendations, collecting a CinemaScore of A.
"We’re getting some great word of mouth," said Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive vice president for worldwide sales and distribution.
Family ticket buyers constituted about 27% of "Iron Man 3’s" audience, Hollis said, representing about a 10% improvement from "The Avengers." Positive notices meant that the expected drop-off from Friday to Saturday was less than it was with "The Avengers," Hollis said.
The domestic launch places "Iron Man 3" only behind "The Avengers," which grossed $207.4 million in its initial weekend last May on its way to a global gross of $1.5 billion, which trails only "Avatar" and "Titanic" for top worldwide returns.
The "Iron Man 3" debut knocked "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" from second place; that film had grossed $169.2 million in its premiere two years ago.
As strongly as "Iron Man 3" performed in domestic theaters, where it faced no other new films in wide release, its numbers were just as impressive (if not more so) overseas, where the film debuted a week ago.
"This is the kind of film that can be an international event," Hollis said.
The sequel grossed an additional $175.9 million in foreign territories this weekend, making for a total global gross of $680.1 million, which quickly put it past the total worldwide grosses of Marvel’s "Iron Man" ($585 million), "Iron Man 2" ($624 million), "Thor" ($449 million) and "Captain America" ($369 million).
"Iron Man 3" had the best openings ever in China, Russia, Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, South Africa and Ukraine. In China, where "Iron Man 3" includes several special Chinese sequences to appeal to the nation’s moviegoers, the sequel has grossed $63.5 million, the most of any other nation besides the United States.
The $200-million "Iron Man 3" faces some strong competition in the coming weeks, but the PG-13 rated movie should dominate families for a little while. On Friday, "The Great Gatsby" opens wide, as does "Tyler Perry Presents Peeples." On May 17, the sequel "Star Trek Into Darkness" arrives.
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