LOS ANGELES – Super-hero blockbuster sequel “Iron Man 3″ smashed to the top at the US box office with a mega $175.3 million take – the second best opening weekend ever – industry estimates showed Sunday.
The film starring Robert Downey Jr as the title character now sits behind just “The Avengers” – another Walt Disney comic book superhero flick- which earned $207.4 million when it opened a year ago.
“‘Iron Man 3′ is definitely playing like a pseudo-sequel to last summer’s mightiest flick, ‘The Avengers,'” said Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock.
It “may be the top movie of the summer, unless the ‘Man of Steel'” – an updated take on the ever-popular Superman story set for release in June- “has anything to say about it.
The US opening of Iron Man 3 demolished the franchise’s previous debuts, with $98 million for the first movie and $128 million for the sequel, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.
In second place for this weekend’s box office was action-comedy “Pain and Gain,” starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, with $7.6 million in ticket sales, Exhibitor Relations said.
Not far behind was “42,” a biopic about trailblazing black baseball star Jackie Robinson, which made $6.2 million
The fourth spot, with $5.8 million, went to “Oblivion,” the post-apocalyptic action flick starring Tom Cruise, followed by “The Croods” – a stone-age cartoon— in fifth, with $4.2 million.
“The Big Wedding” – a star-studded comedy featuring Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton and Robin Williams – came in sixth place, taking in $3.9 million.
“Mud,” a coming-of-age story starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, earned an estimated $2.2 million, for seventh place, the film’s first week in the top ten after going into wide release a week earlier.
And in eighth, Walt Disney’s 3D fantasy adventure flick “Oz the Great and Powerful” earned $1.8 million, for a nine-week total of $228.6 million.
“Scary Movie 5,” the latest installment in the slasher-comedy franchise, took the ninth spot with $1.4 million.
Rounding out the top 10 at $1.3 million was “The Place Beyond the Pines,” starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in a drama about a motorcycle stunt rider who resorts to bank robbery to provide for his lover and their newborn child.