Look, we all knew that 'Iron Man 3' was going to make a whole bunch of money and open at number one at the box office and kick the summer movie season off in style. The question was never "Is 'Iron Man 3' going to make any money?", the question was always "What absolutely absurd amount is 'Iron Man 3' going to make in its opening weekend?"

FilmWeekendPer Screen
1Iron Man 3$175,300,000$41,218$175,300,000
2Pain and Gain$7,600,000 (-62.5)$2,312$33,919,000
342$6,210,000 (-41.7)$1,857$78,336,000
4Oblivion$5,797,000 (-67.4)$1,690$75,969,000
5The Croods$4,225,000 (-37.2)
6The Big Wedding$3,875,000 (-49.0)$1,472$13,210,000
7Mud$2,150,000 (-3.0)$3,733$5,158,000
8Oz the Great and Powerful$1,822,000 (+0.6)$1,571$228,568,000
9Scary Movie 5$1,435,000 (-58.2)$773$29,603,000
10The Place Beyond the Pines$1,298,000 (-52.4)$1,117$18,678,000


That absurd amount is $175 million. That's the second biggest opening weekend of all time, only beaten by last year's 'The Avengers,' which opened to $207 million (and starred an entire ensemble of superheroes, not just one). That means that two Marvel Studios films now own the top of the Biggest Box Office Openings Ever list. Sorry, Harry Potter.

Let's put this enormous opening into perspective. The first 'Iron Man' opened to $98 million back in 2008, a number that shocked everyone because five years ago, no one knew who the heck Iron Man was. It went on to gross a ridiculously impressive $318 million. 'Iron Man 2' followed in 2010, opening to an enormous $128 million, but not quite matching the first film in the end with a final gross of $312 million (but that's close enough that no one really cares about the difference). That brings us to 'The Avengers' and its record smashing opening, which led to a final gross of $623 million, making it the third highest grossing film of all time.

So...what does this mean for 'Iron Man 3'? Well, it means that its already looking to out-gross the past two films in the franchise by a mile or two. It certainly won't do 'Avengers' money, but we'd wager that $400 million is a low-end prediction here. If it has the legs of the past two films (and even the awful 'Iron Man 2' had legs), we're looking at the frontrunner for highest grossing film of the year.

And while we're hear, let's talk about this post-'Avengers' box office bump. If 'Iron Man 3' made this much cash, what can we expect from 'Thor: The Dark World' and 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'? Both of the first films in those franchises opened to $65 million, but neither managed to break $200 million. Could the growing popularity of the Marvel brand change that? We'll see in the coming year.

If it seems like we're spending a lot of time on 'Iron Man 3' and Marvel, it's because the rest of the box office was dead as a doornail this weekend. 'Pain and Gain' took a massive drop and fell to the number two spot with $7.6 million. Right below it, '42' took a less severe drop and earned $6.2 million. Who would have guessed that a Jackie Robinson biopic was going to massively outgross a Michael Bay film this summer?

Meanwhile, 'Oblivion' has stalled (can it reach $100 million?), 'The Croods' is slowing down (it'll end up with about $185 million total), and 'The Big Wedding' continued to not live up to its title. It was a pretty dismal weekend for movies not called 'Iron Man 3,' but there was a single bright spot: Jeff Nichols' 'Mud' cracked the top ten in limited release. It's not going to be a huge hit, but that's pretty nice for a tiny independent drama.

Next weekend sees the release of the long-delayed 'The Great Gatsby.' It may open okay, but expect 'Iron Man 3' to stand on top once again.

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