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'Iron Man 2' Far Behind 'New Moon': Box Office

Scarlett Johansson Black Widow Iron Man 2
Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow in Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2

Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man 2 broke no box-office records on its opening weekend in North America. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart's The Twilight Saga: New Moon still holds the record for best one-day ever, while Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight has retained the debut-weekend record.

In fact, Iron Man 2 had to settle in fifth place, after The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3, New Moon, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

(Remember, none of those “all-time records” are based on attendance figures; instead, they're based on revenues not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices for, say, IMAX/3D venues. Iron Man 2, for instance, earned $10.2 million at IMAX theaters; a – non-adjusted – record for a 2D film.)

Though hardly record-breaking, Tony Stark acquitted himself remarkably well with an estimated $133.6 million at 4,380 theaters (now, that was a record) for its long three-day weekend, as per figures found at Box Office Mojo.

I say “long” because Iron Man 2's three-day weekend began at 12:01 a.m. Friday – midnight screenings that added $7.5 million to the film's total. Not every movie on the all-time debut-weekend chart had that revenue “plus.”

It's also worth noting that on Saturday, the Jon Favreau-directed actioner lost 11 percent of its box office take – not exactly a great sign. Figures usually go way up on Saturday.

Even if you take out the $7.5 million from Thursday midnight screenings, Iron Man 2's Saturday take was only about 4 percent higher – by far the smallest Friday-to-Saturday increase among this weekend's top twelve films.

We'll see what word-of-mouth and Paramount's multimillion publicity blitz ($75m-$85 million, according to reports) can do to sustain their $170m-$200 million production in the coming weeks.

The film's current worldwide total stands at $397 million.

Also in the Iron Man 2 cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Garry Shandling, Kate Mara, and Paul Bettany.

Photo: Iron Man 2 (Merrick Morton / Marvel)

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Robert Downey Jr Tony Stark Iron Man 2
Scarlett Johansson, Black Widow, Iron Man 2
Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark (top); Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow (bottom), Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 soared to the top of the North American box office on Friday, although Paramount/Marvel's $170 million production (plus $75-$85 million in marketing expenses) didn't exactly match record-breaking expectations.

Starring Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, Jon Favreau's actioner, which has generally been labeled inferior to the 2008 original, earned an estimated $52.4 million – average: $11,963 per theater – on Friday according to Box Office Mojo. (The Robert Pattinson-Kristen Stewart romantic fantasy The Twilight Saga: New Moon holds the first-day box office record with $72.7m.)

Still, that's not bad at all for Iron Man 2, even though the Friday figure includes about $7.5 million from Thursday midnight screenings. (Should Thursday midnight screenings be included in weekend totals?)

Some had been expecting that Iron Man 2 was going to shatter The Dark Knight's $158 million debut-weekend record. It won't get even close. Expectations now are that Iron Man 2 will end up collecting somewhere between $125 million and $135 million.

Also in the Iron Man 2 cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Garry Shandling, Kate Mara, Paul Bettany, and Scarlett Johansson.

Photo: Iron Man 2 (Merrick Morton / Marvel)

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Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Bella and Edward New Moon
Iron Man 2 Tony Stark Iron Suit Robert Downey Jr
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart as Bella and Edward in New Moon (top); Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in Iron Man 2 (bottom)

Iron suit or not, Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2, starring Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow, wasn't strong enough to surpass the first day opening of, gasp, a “chick flick”: Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Robert Pattinson's lovestruck vampire and Kristen Stewart's troubled human easily kicked iron ass. How ironic (awful pun intended), considering that Hollywood studios make movies geared to 12-year-old boys and tend to relegate women to the sides, both in front and behind the camera.

According to Box Office Mojo, Iron Man 2's $52.4 million opening, which includes approximately $7.5 million it earned at Thursday midnight screenings, is no. 7 on the all-time list for first-day box office grosses.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon is no. 1 with $72.7 million, followed by Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (the record-holder for a three-day weekend, with $158 million), Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man 3, Daniel Radcliffe's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

The original Iron Man opened with $35.2 million in 2008.

Figures on the Box Office Mojo chart haven't been adjusted for inflation, of course, though the difference wouldn't have been too glaring since most of the movies found on their list are mid-to-late 2000s releases. Exception to this rule: movies that made most (or even a good chunk) of their money at 3D/IMAX venues, e.g., The Dark Knight, Avatar, Alice in Wonderland.

Photos: Iron Man 2 (Industrial Light & Magic / Marvel); The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment)

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Robert Downey Jr Tony Stark Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey Jr, opened to the tune of $47.5 million on Friday, according to a Deadline.com report. Add to that the $7.5 million the sci-fi/adventure flick earned at Thursday midnight screenings, and its total rises to $55 million. In other words, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight will not have its record shattered.

Iron Man 2 is expected to gross between $125-135 million over the three-day weekend – not much higher than Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (though tickets for that 3D feature were more expensive) and considerably less than early estimates that reached as high as $160 million or whereabouts.

The original Iron Man opened with $98.6 million.

Depending on how good (or bad) word-of-mouth is, Iron Man 2 figures could either go even lower or shoot up somewhat higher. Critics certainly haven't been all that impressed with the sequel.

Either way, Iron Man 2 has broken one record already as per Deadline.com: it's the movie with the widest release ever: 4,380 North American theaters.

Photo: Marvel / Paramount

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Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Iron Man 2

Starring Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man and directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man 2 grossed approximately $7.5 million at 2,500 theaters in North America at midnight screenings this morning (last night?), according to distributor Paramount Pictures.

That's more than twice the amount James Cameron's Avatar earned at its midnight-screening debut at 2,000 theaters last December, but nearly $11 million less than what Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight grossed at midnight showings at 3,000 theaters on July 18, 2008 – when movies tickets, by the way, cost less than they do now.

Some are expecting that Iron Man 2, which many reviewers found quite rusty, will earn more the $140 million over the three-day weekend.

Also in the Iron Man 2 cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Photo: Paramount / Marvel

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24 Comments to 'Iron Man 2' Far Behind 'New Moon': Box Office

  1. pc

    Thanks for the info on Avatar. I still think Titanic is the #1 Movie of all time and Avatar is the #1 IMax/3D movie of all time. At least for Now. (I'm really not into the whole “adjusted for iflation thing.” There are way too many variables)

    All the hate on Twilight is bc of it's success. Once something becomes too popular people try to make themselve appear cool or important by trashing it. It makes them feel good about themselves. They don't fool me for a second though. a hater is a hater is a hater.

  2. sfjillian

    The times they are a changing. This summer will be the year of the woman at the box office. Fanboys can keep their hate. Transformers was definitely not better than New Moon. We've had to listen to them gloat about their films for years, now it's our turn. The message being sent to Hollywood is loud and clear. Women are here to stay and have movie dollars. Studios that jump on it first, like Summit, are going to win.

  3. Satine

    Everyone has the right to go and watch a movie that appeals to them. I am certain Ironmen 2 will be a good movie to watch but I don't understand why there is so much negativity toward the Twilight Saga. There seems to be two sides, you either hate it or love it. I am in the middle. I enjoyed the books, however the movies have not lived up to the adaptation of the novel to screen. Although I love looking at Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, the tone, acting, and storytelling has not fulfilled my expectations I was hoping for in Twilight and especially New Moon. Yet poorly made films aimed toward the male population or fanboys have never been this vocal as the Twilight Saga has been in other articles and blogs. I will see Eclipse and hope that this film will be better than New Moon. This franchise has changed what girls and women want to watch on screen and the film industry should take notes and deliver films that will turn a profit for the studios and yet have a feminine perspective instead of the male dominated films that we have had to endure, although some have been good I believe times are a changing.

  4. mh

    >>>>>>>>>>>I have a question shouldn't they have a seperate chart for IMax/3D films.

    Absolutely. I've tried doing that with AVATAR — to calculate # of tickets sold (in terms of ranking), with the assistance of Box Office Mojo's all-time (domestic) inflation-adjusted chart.

    Much to the irritation of AVATAR fans, I might add…

    Those two below were my last posts on the “Avatar” box-office issue…



  5. pc

    I have a question shouldn't they have a seperate chart for IMax/3D films. I mean the last Imax I went to see I paid $17 compared to 11.50 for regular theatres. So obviously the Imax film has a box office advantage over the films that are not in Imax. Just sayin'.

  6. pc

    everything the article point out is correct. Hollywood gears most of their movies toward fanboys. Girls are second class citizens. They don't think we're important. Well we're making them take notice aren't we.? Now I'm not going to see Iron Man bc it's just not my cup of tea. For those who enjoy it more power to you.

    as for Twilight I enjoyed the books more than the films I've seen so far. I just have to wait and see what Eclipse looks like.

  7. Teciba

    fair enough for the both of movies, and i did not think there is any short of need to achieve one and other in numbers. because most of the times movie are impressive with good use of drama and both are tuning with own identities. one is romantic and other is factional.

  8. vanpat

    I agree with you nola. I've never read Twilight book, I just enjoyed the film so much and Twilight movie is so much better than any other film nowsaday that only emphasize on violence.

  9. bree

    hi my bday is may8 jest wanted to piont that out ok cool

  10. nola

    I like Twilight because of actors Rukia! A lot od people I know never read the books but they have enjoyed movies.

    I am huge fan of Kristen Stewart, she is excellent actress.

  11. Anjana

    Just Because New Moon Was better than Iron Man in terms of figures does'nt mean New moon is better than Iron Man.Iron Man is Very long way better than New Moon.IRON MAN Rocks

  12. sakshi

    i agree you on that i also enjoy harry potter far more than twilight books and movies but i have crush on Robert Pattinson

  13. Rukia

    I like Iron Man way better than Twilight, due to the fact that the actors suck; people only see Twilight because of the books, which aren't that good anyway, but okay, I have to say. Who cares if Twilight did better in the box office and Iron Man is addressed to men more than women? That doesn't make Twilight a better movie; but whatever, people have their opinions; I like the guy movies, even if I am a girl. Chick flicks bore me and I need the action, which is part of the reason I enjoy Harry Potter far more than the Twilight books and movies; and also Twilight is pretty sexist anyway, as Bella is a mary sue, none of the girls do anything, but girl stuff, e.g, cooking and cleaning.

  14. Val

    You forgot to mention that New Moon did so much box office without Imax or a two hundred million dollar budget. Iron Man 2 needs around $350 million just to break even after costs and marketing. I didn't think the article was biased. It was the writer's opinion. To call someone a lesbian because you don't agree with their opinion is juvenile. Please grow up, Tina. I can't wait to see Eclipse break all the records this summer. I love Rob, Kristen, and Taylor. They helped make the movies fun again for millions of females around the world.

  15. bettyel

    I agree with you entirely. Thank you for the Mother's Day good wishes. It is so nice to read a series of books, and see the movies, where there is no cursing, smoking, liquor, and nudity. I love the romance part of The Twilight Saga, and while many people like action pictures like Iron Man, there are also many people of all ages and both sexes, who like love stories. I am hoping there is lots of Edward and Bella in Eclipse along with all the action and fighting. Enjoy you Mother's Day too.

  16. TwiFangirl28

    Good. Men are always putting women/girls down for loving Twilight. I'm glad Iron Man 2 isn't breaking records. Twifans had a celebration on Twitter that the one day is still in our hands. Twifans are also planning Eclipse Friday and Saturday to make sure that the movie breaks record. It will beat TDK and the fanboys will be up in arms. I'm so happy that us girls finally have some power at the summer box office. Get ready for a summer of handsome sparkly vampires and half naked wolfboys, stiletto heels, and romance. It's about time.

  17. monique

    bettyel,sorryl you really have a crush on rpattz amen i am25 and i have a huge crush on him also in fact i lov him with godly love B if i may call you that rob is going to reach so far in his career all those critic who spoke ill about his work will eat there words in the not to distance future i do not know you personally but i believe you know what you're talking about irespect you and by the wat happy mothers day rob is a darling isn't he

  18. bettyel

    I believe and hope that Eclipse will shatter even New Moon's opening day record. Can hardly wait to see it and I am a 74 year old happily married grandmother with a huge crush on Robert Pattinson. I think he is the hottest guy on the planet (except for my husband), a very good actor and a seemingly decent person.

  19. Satine

    What the heck was that all about? Tina stop being so spiteful. If you read the article there is no mention of men being bad and women being good. She is stating a fact that for the first time a franchise geared toward women is leaving a big mark in Hollywood and that maybe more movies need to be aimed toward women than 12 year old boys. You notice the previous summers have had Batman, Spiderman, Superman, The Dark Knight, all martial-arts related movies, etc., etc., are aimed towards young men and males longing for nostalgia. I admit the Twilight movies are not masterpieces of filmwork but they have served their purpose for young and older women to enjoy. Also why do women resort to men's ways. You may not agree with the article but you should have never let it get personal, it is most unattractive for men, boys, women, and girls.
    So little class in social networking.

  20. mh

    >>>>>>>>>>>>People like you who are so biased should not be allowed to have an opinion.
    This opinion was so men are bad and women are good. Keep your lesbian feelings to yourself.

    Good thing I read this before anyone else, or your hilarious comment would have been trashed right away.

    I just wanted to say you're absolutely right. You clearly read my piece very carefully. I do say in there that Men are Bad, Women Are Good, don't I?

    So, I fully agree with you. Only thoughtful, well-balanced, well-informed, non-biased people such as yourself should be allowed to have opinions.

  21. nola

    why are you insulting? what lesbian? get yourself tina!

    For example I am Twilight fan and I have seen Irona man. I love both movies.

  22. Tina

    What's your point? It's still a good movie. People like you who are so biased should not be allowed to have an opinion.
    This opinion was so men are bad and women are good. Keep your lesbian feelings to yourself.

  23. Billie B

    I don't believe Alice opened on Thursday or it might have earned more on opening weekend.
    Glad Ironman is doing well.

  24. Piotr Pijosky

    In my opinion the first Iron Man was a great movie. Its only flaw was its action, or lack there of. You could tell that director (Jon Favreau) wasn't quite sure what he could or couldn't do with the character. With the sequel he tries to compensate for that tenfold by filling the screen with explosive fight sequences featuring both human and metal casualties.