With the weekend all to himself, Iron Man 2 had no trouble scoring the year’s best three day total with $133.6 million brought in from 10,000 screens at a record 4,380 locations. That estimate, if it holds, gives the sequel the fifth highest opening weekend of all-time – right behind the $135.6 million of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
|1||Iron Man 2||$133,600,000||$133.6|
|2||Nightmare on Elm Street||$9,170,000||$48.5|
|3||How To Train Your Dragon||$6,760,000||$201|
|5||The Back-Up Plan||$4,345,000||$29.4|
|7||Clash of the Titans||$2,305,000||$157.8|
|8||Death at a Funeral||$2,100,000||$38.3|
Ever since Spider Man became the first movie to break $100 million in three days back in 2002, we have expected big things from our early May releases. Two years ago the original Iron Man opened to $98.6 million at 4,106 locations and went on to become the second highest grossing film of 2008 right behind (well, $215 million behind, actually) that “more marketable” comic book hero The Dark Knight. Even the much-maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine had a big $85 million debut at this time last year.
Because of its huge market share (IM2 accounted for over 78% of all domestic ticket sales on its first weekend) and its huge marketing buildup, Iron Man 2 was destined to outperform its predecessor. Personally, I was not among those who expected the all-time first weekend record set by TDK to succumb to the charms of Tony Stark. For now, IM2 will have to settle for being Paramount’s highest domestic opener ever (Transformers 2 made $108.9 million for the studio in 2009) and for its none-too-shabby worldwide estimate of $300 million (with $165 million from 60 overseas territories added in).
Because Iron Man 2 was so dominant, the news from the back nine is pretty thin. Last week’s number one film, A Nightmare on Elm Street, fell victim to the curse of the horror franchise – the second week plummet. The reboot dropped an estimated 72% to $9.1 million which, thanks to Iron Man 2, was still good enough for second place. Although the Elm Street drop was dramatic, it didn’t match the 80% plunge that Friday the 13th took in February of 2009. So there’s that.
The real surprise this week is that, guess what? Babies are cute! Focus Features documentary Babies, featuring four globe-spanning tots in their first year of life, managed to crawl its way into the top ten after being featured on every daytime talk show imaginable last week. The doc earned an estimated $1.575 million from its 543 locations or just a bit above the $1.510 million that Kick-Ass claimed on its fourth week. I’m guessing that the Hit Girl haters out there are feeling some poetic justice over that.
This weekend’s single big opening didn’t hold many surprises considering the blockbuster reputation of the first Iron Man and the sequel’s quick two-year turn-around. Next weekend’s debut of Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, however, should be more interesting. It’s been 10 years since the pair last had a big scale commercial success with Gladiator. Robin Hood has been marketed as a return to that film’s epic scale, but will audiences agree? I’m thinking they will turn up for Robin Hood out of sheer curiosity but everything will turn on how strong IM2 remains through its second weekend. Stay Tuned.