By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood May 4, 2013 at 3:52PM
Disney/Marvel's "Iron Man 3" added the U.S. and Canada as the last major territories to open Thursday night, amassing a $68,312,000 total through Friday to end up as the #8 best (in unadjusted figures) opening gross ever. More relevantly, that strong number was about $12 million less than last year's phenomenally successful "The Avengers," also aided by 3-D and IMAX surcharges, which was also already playing in most of the rest of the world.
Through Friday, "Iron Man 3" in ten days of staggered openings worldwide has already taken in a phenomenal $456 million, clearly benefiting from good will from "The Avengers" (which included Iron Man as a character), its position as the first major franchise film of the year and a more aggressive and elevated focus on marketing and distribution in worldwide markets. How well ultimately this already massively successful film will do will be clearer when full weekend international figures are in (which importantly will include China, which broke opening day records on Wednesday) and comparisons to last week's initial foreign numbers can be made. But at this point, it isn't likely to challenge "The Avengers" $1.5 billion worldwide take or its $600 million-plus domestic total.
It will be easily be the best opening for the "Iron Man" series. However, the first two were not made in 3-D. #2 did $51 million its first day for then-distributor Paramount (Disney struck a deal with Marvel since them for all their films); thus the total number of ticket buyers is about equal, with much higher average prices for this entry.
Like last year, when over the same weekend "The Avengers" opened, "Iron Man 3" was the viewing of choice for most moviegoers yesterday. The rest of the top 10 took in a bit over $10 million in total. With "Avengers" itself bigger last year, total gross for the day was down 17% from a year ago, making the total for 2013 so far fall even more from last year by this date.
The impact from "Iron Man 3" was particularly hard on other action-oriented films. Last Friday's #1 and the previous week's top film -- "Pain and Gain" (#2 yesterday) and "Oblivion" (#4) -- both fell around 2/3s from last week. "42" (#3), "The Big Wedding" (#5) and "The Croods" (#6) -- all playing to somewhat different audiences -- held better, all falling less than 50%. Lionsgate counterprogrammer "Mud," still playing only 564 theaters, jumped to #8 for the day.