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Iron Man 2 Box Office: No Major Records Broken

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Iron Man 2 Robert Downey Jr. iron suitIron Man 2 with Robert Downey Jr. (one assumes) wearing Tony Stark’s iron suit: Worldwide box office hit.
  • Iron Man 2 box office: Directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey Jr., this year’s sequel to Marvel/Paramount’s 2008 blockbuster has, as expected, turned out to be an even bigger global hit. Even so, Iron Man 2 has failed to break any major domestic box office records.

Iron Man 2 box office: Despite significant drop-off rate, Marvel superhero to become one of year’s biggest blockbusters

Ramon Novarro Beyond Paradise

May 14–16 weekend box office: Marvel Studios/Paramount Pictures’ mega-budget actioner Iron Man 2 remained atop the domestic box office chart for the second weekend in a row, easily beating Universal Pictures’ mega-budget actioner Robin Hood on its North American (U.S. and Canada) debut.

According to final figures found at, this past weekend Jon Favreau’s superhero flick starring Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and Gwyneth Paltrow grossed $52 million – a nearly 60 percent drop from a week ago.

For comparison’s sake: In early May 2008, the original Iron Man, also directed by Favreau and starring Downey Jr., was down 48 percent between weekends no. 1 and no. 2.

Another 60 percent drop and – the less than enthusiastically receivedIron Man 2 will be earning $21 million next weekend.

Reviews partly to blame?

So, could more critical accolades have helped to soften Iron Man 2’s sizable second-weekend drop-off rate?

Well, to some extent. Just bear in mind that these types of movies are critic-proof.

For instance, Michael Bay’s brawny and braindead Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen turned out to be 2009’s biggest domestic blockbuster – though, admittedly, its second-weekend drop-off rate was a hefty 61 percent despite the fact that this sequel to the 2007 hit Transformers debuted on a Wednesday (thus diluting its first-weekend take).

Anyhow, Mike Mitchell’s blockbuster-to-be Shrek Forever After – featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, and Cameron Diaz – will be Iron Man 2’s chief competition next weekend. We’ll see what happens.

Update: Iron Man 2 collected $26.4 million (down 49 percent) on its third weekend out, far behind Shrek Forever After ($70.8 million).

How much money will Iron Man 2 have to earn to break even?

Iron Man 2 officially (as per Marvel/Paramount) cost $200 million – as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses. Having said that, let’s not forget that Robin Hood officially (as per Universal) cost $155 million while its reported price tag has been hovering somewhere between $200–$237 million.

Also: As a rule of thumb, studios get about 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross of their movies. That means the iron-clad superhero has to bring in some superbucks: At least $420–$450 million worldwide to recoup its production budget.

And then he’ll need to score another $200–$220 million to cover its likely marketing and distribution costs (as a rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production budget).

But no worries. When all is added up – domestic and foreign box office grosses, DVD sales, VOD, TV, cable, toys, games, crossword puzzles, kitchen towels, etc. – Iron Man 2 will end up in the black.

Also in the Iron Man 2 cast: Oscar nominees Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, 2004), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler, 2008), and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, 1994), plus Sam Rockwell, Clark Gregg, Kate Mara, John Slattery, Paul Bettany, and Leslie Bibb. Justin Theroux was credited for the screenplay.

Iron Man 2 worldwide gross

Iron Man 2 ultimately raked in $312.4 million in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to an estimated $311.5 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $623.9 million.

That should have been enough to earn Marvel/Paramount some solid profits, even before ancillary revenues began pouring in.

Domestically, the Iron Man sequel trailed three titles at the 2010 box office: James Cameron’s 2009 futuristic fantasy adventure Avatar ($466.1 million earned in 2010), Lee Unkrich’s animated kiddie flick Toy Story 3 ($415 million), and Tim Burton’s fantasy Alice in Wonderland ($334.2 million). Note: In varying degrees, these three titles earned most of their domestic take at pricier 3D sites.

Iron Man 2’s biggest international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($30.5 million), South Korea ($27.1 million), Australia ($22.4 million), France ($19.8 million), Mexico ($18.4 million), Brazil ($15.8 million), Russia/CIS ($14.8 million), Japan ($12.8 million), Italy ($10 million), Germany ($9.3 million), China ($7.9 million), and Spain ($7.6 million).

Iron Man 2 Scarlett Johansson Black WidowIron Man 2 with Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. the Black Widow.

Iron Man 2 box office: Strong debut, but superhero sequel breaks no major domestic records

May 7–9 weekend box office: Directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Scarlett Johansson, Iron Man 2 broke no major box office records on its opening weekend in North America. Well, except perhaps the record for most overestimated weekend earnings.

Released at 4,380 theaters (now, that was a record), the (reportedly) $200 million Marvel Studios/Paramount Pictures sequel took in $51.2 million on opening day and $128.1 million over the weekend; the latter figure is about $5 million below studio estimates and $30 million below early expectations.

Iron Man 2’s current worldwide total stands at an estimated $322 million.

Note: The superhero movie’s opening day and opening weekend figures include an estimated $7.5 million from Thursday midnight screenings.

Marvel superhero trailing DC’s Batman and Twilight’s Bella

Released last fall, Chris Weitz’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon, starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, still holds the best opening-day record ($72.7 million) – as unusual as it gets for a female-oriented movie – while Christopher Nolan’s summer 2008 release The Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, has retained the best opening-weekend record ($158 million).

In fact, Iron Man 2 had to settle for seventh place in the best opening-day category, trailing New Moon, The Dark Knight, Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the Sam Raimi-Tobey Maguire collaboration Spider-Man 3, the global blockbuster Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and the Gore Verbinski-Johnny Depp collaboration Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

In the best opening-weekend category, Iron Man 2 is at no. 5, trailing The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3, New Moon, and Dead Man’s Chest.

Mega-production needs to earn mega-bucks

Bear in mind that none of these “all-time records” are based on attendance figures; instead, they’re based on grosses not calibrated for inflation or, as the case may be, for premium ticket prices (e.g., at IMAX/3D venues). Iron Man 2, for instance, earned $10.2 million at pricier IMAX theaters – a (non-adjusted) record for a 2D film.

For comparison’s sake: On its spring 2008 debut, the (reportedly) $140 million Iron Man took in $35.2 million on its first day ($38.7 million if one includes Thursday evening screenings) and $98.6 million over the weekend ($112.1 million including Thursday evening shows).

We’ll see what word-of-mouth and Paramount’s multimillion-dollar publicity blitz can do to sustain Iron Man 2 in the coming weeks.

Iron Man 2 Box Office: No Major Records Broken” notes

Unless otherwise noted, “Iron Man 2 Box Office: No Major Records Broken” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety,, etc.).

Comments about Iron Man 2 and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).

Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).

Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.

Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man 2 movie images: Merrick Morton | François Duhamel | Industrial Light & Magic | Marvel Studios | Paramount Pictures.

Iron Man 2 Box Office: No Major Records Broken” last updated in September 2023.

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Zach Bosko -

While Iron Man 2 may not be perfect, it is a pretty good sequel for the most part. Although some of the characters are really cool, they may have tried to have a bit too much going on. It wasn’t necessarily hard to follow, just a few too many sub plots for my taste. I think they could have edited some of the scenes with dialogue down and added a little more Iron Man action. Still, it was great to watch this movie and my family found it hard to leave our home theater seats!

Donald Ward -

I was disappointed in Iron Man 2 thought it was going to be more action and a better plot. The characters were good but could have made it a lot more interesting and added twists to the plot. Oh well if they make an Iron Man 3 hopefully they make up for this one and it doesn’t suck like X-Men 3 and Spiderman 3.

kamaya dejohnette -

This Movie IronMan 2 And IronMan 1 Were And Are My favorite Movie Esepeccially With Robert Downey Jr. My favorite Actor Singer ,And Person I really Do Look up to Him Alot!

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.

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.

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’.

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.

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

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.

sakshi -

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.


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