Iron Man 3 — Second Biggest Opening in History

Iron Man 3 posterIt’s official: Iron Man 3‘s opening weekend in the United States is the second biggest in history, after only The Avengers.

Iron Man 3 took in an estimated $175.3 million in its opening weekend, which began in Thursday midnight showings and ended yesterday (Sunday, 5 May).

That’s not as much as The Avengers, which took in $207.4 million in its opening weekend. But it’s a huge improvement over Iron Man 2‘s $128.1 million, which was itself a big improvement over Iron Man‘s $98.6.

Because Iron Man 3 debuted in many nations earlier than it did in the United States, the film has already taken in an estimated $680.1 million in all locations.

Iron Man 3‘s improvement is especially remarkable, given that Iron Man 2 was widely seen as a creative disappointment. It’s frequently the case that the opening of a sequel reflects a creative judgment on the previous film. If a film is good and gained fans after it left theaters, its sequel may perform better. But if a film is bad, this disappointment can also be carried forward.

Another factor against Iron Man 3 is that the third film is a series usually doesn’t do as well as the first two. Iron Man 3 has defied this trend as well.

It’s also worth considering the departure of Jon Favreau, who directed the first two films, who was replaced by Shane Black. Favreau did remain involved in the third installment, however, even reprising his portrayal of Happy Hogan in Black’s film.

It seems to be that audiences treated Iron Man 3 less as a sequel to Iron Man 2 than as the seventh movie in the Marvel cinematic universe — and especially as a follow-up to the record-breaking The Avengers.

This is particularly significant because it suggests that audiences understand the Marvel cinematic universe as a line, so that individual entries are buoyed by that line’s success — although it remains to be see whether this advantage also works in reverse, should a major film disappoint.

Given the success of the Iron Man films and the popularity of Robert Downey, Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark, it’s unlikely that the other three films between now and The Avengers 2 will exceed Iron Man 3.

The following films are part of the Marvel cinematic universe and have already been announced:

  • Thor: The Dark World (8 Nov 2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (4 April 2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (1 Aug 2014)
  • The Avengers 2 (1 May 2015)
  • Ant-Man (6 Nov 2015)

In addition, a pilot for a TV series set in the same universe, entitled Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and starring a resurrected Agent Coulson, has been filmed for ABC, although no airdate or order for a full season has yet to be announced.

Analysts are especially anxious to see how Guardians of the Galaxy performs, given that it’s far less known than the other properties in the series. Then again, the entire Marvel cinematic universe was built around characters that weren’t considered bankable at the box office.

Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

In 1996, while still an undergraduate, Dr. Julian Darius founded what would become Sequart Organization. After graduating magna cum laude from Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin), he obtained his M.A. in English, authoring a thesis on John Milton and utopianism. In 2002, he moved to Waikiki, teaching college while obtaining an M.A. in French (high honors) and a Ph.D. in English. In 2011, he founded Martian Lit, which publishes creative work, including his comic book Martian Comics. He currently lives in Illinois.

See more, including free online content, on .

Also by Julian Darius:

This Lightning, This Madness: Understanding Alan Moore\'s Miracleman, Book One

author

producer

A Long Time Ago: Exploring the Star Wars Cinematic Universe

contributor

Classics on Infinite Earths: The Justice League and DC Crossover Canon

author

executive producer

New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics

contributor

producer

executive producer

When Manga Came to America: Super-Hero Revisionism in Mai, the Psychic Girl

author

a short documentary on Chris Claremont's historic run and its influence

executive producer

Warren Ellis: The Captured Ghosts Interviews

introduction

Voyage in Noise: Warren Ellis and the Demise of Western Civilization

co-author

Shot in the Face: A Savage Journey to the Heart of Transmetropolitan

contributor

The Weirdest Sci-Fi Comic Ever Made: Understanding Jack Kirby\'s 2001: A Space Odyssey

author

The Devil is in the Details: Examining Matt Murdock and Daredevil

contributor

Everything and a Mini-Series for the Kitchen Sink: Understanding Infinite Crisis

author

Revisionism, Radical Experimentation, and Dystopia in Keith Giffen\'s Legion of Super-Heroes

author

And the Universe so Big: Understanding Batman: The Killing Joke

author

a feature-length documentary film on celebrated comics writer Warren Ellis

executive producer

Keeping the World Strange: A Planetary Guide

contributor

Minutes to Midnight: Twelve Essays on Watchmen

contributor

a documentary on the life and work of celebrated comics writer Grant Morrison

executive producer

Improving the Foundations: Batman Begins from Comics to Screen

author

Teenagers from the Future: Essays on the Legion of Super-Heroes

contributor

Not pictured:

2 Comments

  1. Maybe I’m just being ignorant. But I don’t understand why they are making a standalone Ant Man movie. You know I’m a DC guy, but come on, the guy is a huge rip off of The Atom who to me seems a lot more interesting a characters. He was great in the Justice League DCAU, and a real asset. Just my two cents. Great analysis as always!

    • Stuart, you’re only illustrating how much DC needs to get its act together. Because there could be an Atom movie. The fact that we’re getting Ant-Man instead says a lot more about the Marvel cinematic universe vs. DC / Warners than it does the strength of Ant-Man vs. the Atom.

Leave a Reply