Box Office Guru Wrapup: Iron Man 2 Draws Fifth Biggest Opening of All-Time

Audiences welcome Tony Stark's return with over $130 million.

The summer movie season kicked off with the thunderous opening of the eagerly awaited super hero sequel Iron Man 2 which hauled in an estimated $133.6M over the Friday-to-Sunday period making for the fifth biggest debut of all-time. Paramount released the Marvel production in a mammoth 4,380 theaters including 181 venues with IMAX screens making it the widest bow in history edging out the 4,366-theater release of The Dark Knight in July 2008. The new Tony Stark film averaged a scorching $30,502 per site.

Hollywood's only blockbusters to open bigger were Knight with $158.4M, Spider-Man 3 with $151.1M, The Twilight Saga: New Moon with $142.8M, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with $135.6M. Iron Man 2 registered the largest debut in company history for Paramount beating Shrek the Third's $121.6M and was second-best among May titles behind another Marvel sequel launching over the first weekend of the month - the third Spidey flick.

Robert Downey Jr. once again played the title role with Jon Favreau directing and Gwenyth Paltrow co-starring. New players this time for the $170M production were Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, and Don Cheadle. Samuel L. Jackson's cameo in the first installment was expanded into a supporting role this time giving the actor the coveted 'and' credit. Rourke snagged the almost-as-cool 'with' credit. Numerous promotional partners added marketing muscle to the campaign including Burger King, Audi, 7-Eleven, Dr. Pepper, Oracle, and Hershey's Reese's brand.

Fans powered the first Iron Man to an opening of $102.1M (including Thursday night shows starting at 8pm) two years ago over the first weekend of May ahead of a leggy run that reached $318.4M. The sequel's opening was 31% better and benefited from 7% more theaters, two years of ticket price increases, and the addition of an IMAX release which took advantage of higher ticket prices. IM2 set a new record for biggest 2D IMAX opening with $10.2M from 181 screens beating the $8.5M from 138 of last May's Star Trek, also a Paramount release.

As with its predecessor, Iron Man 2 scored an encouraging A grade from CinemaScore indicating great satisfaction from paying audiences. Critics were not as enthusiastic this time around but in general reviews were good, especially for a comic book sequel. Exit polls showed that 60% of the crowd was male and 60% was over 25. Friday kicked off with a stunning $52.3M in ticket sales including $7.5M in Thursday night post-midnight shows, Saturday dipped 11% to $46.5M, and Sunday is estimated to slide by 25% to $34.9M. The metal man accounted for a whopping 78% of all sales for the top ten movies this weekend as competition hardly existed and rival studios steered clear of releasing anything big against it.

Overseas, where the Stark gang debuted a week earlier, ticket sales hit an estimated $57.2M this weekend lifting the international tally to $194M. That makes for a massive $190.8M global weekend gross and a $327.6M cume to date worldwide in under two weeks. Even with large sequel-type declines in the weeks ahead, Iron Man 2 should have no problem zooming past the $582M global haul of its predecessor paving the way for a third chapter which Marvel is already planning.

Freddy Krueger took a tumble as expected. The horror remake A Nightmare on Elm Street fell a sharp 72% in its second weekend to an estimated $9.2M putting it in a distant second place. It was a larger sophomore fall than those for other fright redos like Halloween (64%) and Prom Night (58%) but did not reach the incredibly high 80% crash suffered by Friday the 13th last year. With $48.5M in ten days, Nightmare should end up with a solid $60-65M nearly matching the $65M of the Jason remake.

Holding up well yet again in its seventh weekend of release was the 3D sensation How To Train Your Dragon which slipped only 36% to an estimated $6.8M boosting the hit toon into the double-century club with $201.1M to date. A final domestic take of $220-225M seems likely.

Fox's leggy comedy hit Date Night followed with an estimated $5.3M in its fifth weekend, down only 30%, for a $80.9M cume to date. The Jennifer Lopez pic The Back-up Plan dropped 40% to an estimated $4.3M giving CBS Films $29.4M thus far.

Summit's family flop Furry Vengeance fell 40% to an estimated $4M resulting in a poor ten-day tally of just $11.6M. Clash of the Titans took a big hit from Iron Man 2 tumbling 61% to an estimated $2.3M. After its sixth frame, the Warner Bros. 3D adventure has banked $157.8M.

Chris Rock's latest comedy Death at a Funeral followed with an estimated $2.1M, off 49%, for a $38.3M sum for Sony. The Losers ranked ninth collapsing 69% to an estimated $1.8M with $21.5M to date for Warner Bros.

Three films fought over tenth place with estimated grosses between $1.5M and $1.6M but if Sunday estimates are to be believed, the documentary Babies narrowly won the race. Opening to weak results, the PG-rated film about the first year of life for four babies growing up in different parts of the world grossed an estimated $1.6M from 534 theaters for a lackluster $2,951 average. Focus went unusually wide with the launch as most non-Michael Moore documentaries do not bow in this many theaters on the first weekend. Disney's nature films Oceans and Earth are two examples of wide releases for the genre as both were tied into Earth Day. Babies was slated for Mother's Day weekend, however its target audience of new parents rarely get time to go out to the movies at that stage of life. A much larger crowd is likely to catch it on DVD and VOD. Reviews for the French-produced doc were generally positive.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $171M which was up 23% from last year when Star Trek opened in the top spot with $75.2M ($79.2M including Thursday night); and up 48% from 2008 when Iron Man remained at number one with $51.2M. During those two years, this was the second weekend of summer and not the kickoff.

Comments

Orange Crush

amy nielsen

Iron man 2 was awesome glad to see it doing well. Also glad to see nightmare fall that movie is a waste of time and money.

May 9 - 03:13 PM

EllenPageIsMyArchitect.

Joshua Medicoff

Good for IM2. I'm thinking it will finish around 350-370. It was awesome and deserves every cent in earns.

May 9 - 03:13 PM

Orange Crush

amy nielsen

Great movie great sequel here's hoping for a great trilogy

May 9 - 03:20 PM

ZenFan

Dylan Hair

Good to see a very strong start to the summer season, and even greater to see it delivered by a very strong movie! Saw Iron Man 2 this weekend in the IMAX theatre, and loved it!! I actually liked it a bit better than the first one, and I really loved that one!! Yes, there was more action and explosions in it, but come on! What sequel doesn't?? However they didn't lose sight that what made the first so successful was the characters, and they kept up with the strong characterization in this installment as well. I can't wait for the third one, and for those who haven't seen it, stay until the end of the credits. there's a cool extra tidbit for those with patience!! Can't wait to see it again, I may this weekend along with Robin Hood. Looks to be a very promising summer!!

May 9 - 03:21 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

The third one will be The Avengers(While it will be the 2nd one for Hulk, Thor, and Captain America).

May 9 - 03:24 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

The funny thing is, when you go back and think about it there really weren't that many more explosions...aside from the ending sequence which I think everyone wanted a few more explosions from the first one. It seemed that way because the movie had such a frenetic pace, but really they established that pace without gaudy explosions and whatnot. Impressive. I agree I liked it a bit more than the first one. I think I'd pay money to see RDJ do standup as Tony Stark. Great character.

May 10 - 04:41 AM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Awesome movie, enjoyed it a lot! Great opening but I bet it would have done more if it was released last week. Damn you pirates!

May 9 - 03:22 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

The third one will be The Avengers(While it will be the 2nd one for Hulk, Thor, and Captain America).

May 9 - 03:24 PM

The Whiz

The Bigredhunk

I enjoyed it. It's not "IM1"...but it was a fun flick. The trailers left a lot to be desired though:

"Twilight"
"Last Airbender"
"Super 8"
"Grown Ups"
"Inception" (looks good, don't quite get the hype though)

May 9 - 03:28 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

I had the following trailers

Toy Story 3
The Last Airbender
Shrek Forever After
Robin Hood
Inception(Same with you, I don't get the hype.)
Super 8

May 9 - 04:30 PM

filmmaniac123

Aakash Kumar

the hype if for it being most likely the best sci fi movie ever...have you seen DARK KNIGHT?
And yes...Iron Man 2 is solid.

May 10 - 12:06 PM

Matt J.

Matt Jordan

Best SciFi ever...you really need to get out more my friend.

May 10 - 12:23 PM

whoooop

whoooop ruiz

Well Inception's hype is mainly because of the cast Nolan... At least that's why I'm excited about it.

May 9 - 06:43 PM

the train

Vinnie Oliveri

an average movie taking advantage of a weak market.

May 9 - 03:46 PM

apmje

Anthony McCormick

Personally thought IM2 was better than the original. :) Well done.

May 9 - 03:53 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Same here.

May 9 - 04:21 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

I'll get around to seeing this eventually (maybe by rental). Hopefully, I'll enjoy it. However, I'd look out for Toy Story 3 (my most anticipated film). If that movie doesn't surpass Iron Man 2's record, it won't be far behind, mark my words.

May 9 - 03:57 PM

Superzone

Link O'Fett

Glad to see IM2 doing well, I really liked it. $133 mil is lower than I thought it would make though. Oh well, glad TDK's record is standing the test of time so far, wonder what movie will eventually break it? The next Batman movie or something else?

May 9 - 04:12 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

My guess will probably be Twilight: Eclipse. Although most of its earnings will be from opening day.

May 9 - 04:23 PM

jrod1978

jarrod taylor

Sadly I have to agree.

May 9 - 04:39 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

I agree with you August M. I think that Twilight Eclipse will beat Iron Man 2 on the opening day, and in fact has a chance of beating The Dark Knight for best one day opening. I mean New Moon Last year made $142 million the first weekend, so Eclipse is almost certainly going to surpass it no matter what the critics say.

May 9 - 04:58 PM

Superzone

Link O'Fett

Sadly you guys are probably right. Quite a sad world we live in when a mediocre tween vampire movie breaks box office records. Ugh.

May 9 - 07:34 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

I would hope it's Toy Story 3, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was Twilight (ugh)

May 9 - 09:13 PM

MovieLombax

Taylor Drake

Ummm, Dark Knight One Day was Broken by New Moon.

May 10 - 12:41 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

I'm sorry I meant the opening weekend.

May 11 - 05:15 AM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Never mind people, Eclipse will open on a Wednesday, June 30th. Rest easy Dark Knight fans, it's record wont be defeated since there there will be a decline days after its release.

May 10 - 05:26 AM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Same here.

May 9 - 04:21 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

My guess will probably be Twilight: Eclipse. Although most of its earnings will be from opening day.

May 9 - 04:23 PM

jrod1978

jarrod taylor

Sadly I have to agree.

May 9 - 04:39 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

I agree with you August M. I think that Twilight Eclipse will beat Iron Man 2 on the opening day, and in fact has a chance of beating The Dark Knight for best one day opening. I mean New Moon Last year made $142 million the first weekend, so Eclipse is almost certainly going to surpass it no matter what the critics say.

May 9 - 04:58 PM

Superzone

Link O'Fett

Sadly you guys are probably right. Quite a sad world we live in when a mediocre tween vampire movie breaks box office records. Ugh.

May 9 - 07:34 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

I would hope it's Toy Story 3, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was Twilight (ugh)

May 9 - 09:13 PM

MovieLombax

Taylor Drake

Ummm, Dark Knight One Day was Broken by New Moon.

May 10 - 12:41 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

I'm sorry I meant the opening weekend.

May 11 - 05:15 AM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Never mind people, Eclipse will open on a Wednesday, June 30th. Rest easy Dark Knight fans, it's record wont be defeated since there there will be a decline days after its release.

May 10 - 05:26 AM

August M.

Agustin Macias

I had the following trailers

Toy Story 3
The Last Airbender
Shrek Forever After
Robin Hood
Inception(Same with you, I don't get the hype.)
Super 8

May 9 - 04:30 PM

filmmaniac123

Aakash Kumar

the hype if for it being most likely the best sci fi movie ever...have you seen DARK KNIGHT?
And yes...Iron Man 2 is solid.

May 10 - 12:06 PM

Matt J.

Matt Jordan

Best SciFi ever...you really need to get out more my friend.

May 10 - 12:23 PM

jrod1978

jarrod taylor

Sadly I have to agree.

May 9 - 04:39 PM

Chaotic

Chris Burge

Wow, Kickass tanked this weekend :(

May 9 - 04:55 PM

Bloody Mathias

Mathias N/A

I was dissapointed and am glad it didn't get near TDK's record.

BTW, did i don't remember seeing that 3rd pic in the film.
The one with Scarlett and Tony. I went to the bathroom for 4 mins between the begining of the expo and Warmachine's intro. Did that scene occur then?

May 9 - 04:57 PM

jimthehippo

Nathan S

I was thinking the exact same thing about the picture. I'm do not remember seeing that at all and I watched the entire movie.

May 9 - 05:09 PM

Nonhuman

Andres Zambrano

it wasn't in the movie, also some scenes from the trailer were not in the final cut

May 9 - 05:35 PM

screwhead100

Ben Wellick

i just hope they get ed norton and RDJ for the avengers or it just wont work IMO......why set up the universe if u cant keep the actors

May 9 - 04:58 PM

Thelastholdout

Douglas Wake

Unfortunately, I remember Ed Norton saying that the studio treated him like **** around the time of Hulk's opening and that he'd never work for them again.

May 9 - 06:47 PM

woundedmakers

Steven Bada

Yea, but I read an interview with Norton recently where he said he's open to Avengers depending on the script. He even lobbied for Letterier to direct it. I honestly think Norton will return to the role. I mean, he'd be a fool not to, right? Regardless if The Avengers ends up being any good (which I think it will), it is going to a HUGE event. Also, from a filmmaking perspective, The Avengers will be the first "multi-franchise mega-movie". I'd imagine that prospect would be appealing to Norton, who is also a fan of the comics himself.

May 9 - 07:48 PM

Thelastholdout

Douglas Wake

Except Norton's also never been one to always go for big commercial roles. He may do it because he likes the project, and the addition of his talent (which is considerable) may save the movie if it's bad, but I don't see him going for it just because it's "big."

May 9 - 10:30 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

I agree with you August M. I think that Twilight Eclipse will beat Iron Man 2 on the opening day, and in fact has a chance of beating The Dark Knight for best one day opening. I mean New Moon Last year made $142 million the first weekend, so Eclipse is almost certainly going to surpass it no matter what the critics say.

May 9 - 04:58 PM

Superzone

Link O'Fett

Sadly you guys are probably right. Quite a sad world we live in when a mediocre tween vampire movie breaks box office records. Ugh.

May 9 - 07:34 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

I would hope it's Toy Story 3, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was Twilight (ugh)

May 9 - 09:13 PM

MovieLombax

Taylor Drake

Ummm, Dark Knight One Day was Broken by New Moon.

May 10 - 12:41 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

I'm sorry I meant the opening weekend.

May 11 - 05:15 AM

jimthehippo

Nathan S

I was thinking the exact same thing about the picture. I'm do not remember seeing that at all and I watched the entire movie.

May 9 - 05:09 PM

Nonhuman

Andres Zambrano

it wasn't in the movie, also some scenes from the trailer were not in the final cut

May 9 - 05:35 PM

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