'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 aka 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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