There is one box office record that Iron Man 3 will not break when it opens this weekend, officially kicking off the 2013 Summer movie season.
It will not have the biggest opening weekend of all time. That honor belongs to The Avengers at $207 million and is highly unlikely to be broken this year.
It may not be the biggest sequel opening of all time, though it could be. The #2 largest opening weekend belongs to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at $169 million. #3 belongs to The Dark Knight Rises at $160 million, with its predecessor The Dark Knight fourth at $158 million.
Clearly it will not have the all-time opening record for a film featuring a comic book superhero. And, obviously, it stands little chance of having the biggest opening for a movie with the character Tony Stark in it. The Avengers shall remain the one with that designation.
Having said all that, the third installment in the Iron Man franchise looks poised for a massive debut this weekend. It will unquestionably set the record for largest 2013 debut so far, likely crushing the $79 million debut by Oz the Great and Powerful. In fact, Iron Man 3 may well have the largest opener of the entire year. The only real competition would be Man of Steel or November’s Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
The original Iron Man in 2008 surpassed industry expectations with a $98 million opening weekend. Its sequel in 2010 made a killing with a $128 million debut. Respectively, that represents the #24 and #11 all-time openers. Iron Man 3 is very likely to exceed both of those grosses this weekend and then some.
This is not because Iron Man 2 was a beloved entry in the superhero movie genre… it wasn’t. It’s because last summer’s The Avengers was. That movie was a phenomenon and its considerable coattails should propel Robert Downey Jr.’s return as Tony Stark to new heights. Iron Man 3 is likely to be the highest overall domestic earner of the trilogy. The first topped out at $318 million and the follow-up at $312 million. It will definitely have the highest opening.
Another plus: reviews for the third installment are quite positive with some critics proclaiming it the best of the series so far and nearly all deeming it a vast improvement over #2. This all adds to the buzz of Iron Man 3 being a must-see event.
I just posted my Top Ten Superhero Movies of All Time in a separate piece. You can review it here:
Could Iron Man 3 join the original Iron Man and The Avengers on that list? We shall see soon enough.
The possibility of Iron Man 3 having the 2nd largest opening of all time is real. Very real. It would need to debut higher than the final Harry Potter‘s $169 million. That could happen and I am inclined to go with that. Internationally, the picture opened higher than Avengers did last year. That was unexpected. We could all be surprised when the numbers roll in this coming weekend. Who knows? It could even reach Avengers level numbers domestically.
Ultimately, I’m predicting Iron Man 3 reaches the #2 all-time domestic opening. It may not and could fall under Harry Potter’s gross and even the grosses of the Nolan Batman sequels. To me, however, Iron Man 3 is moving forward with incredible momentum that should earn it the runner-up spot, second only to the full Avengers team.
Iron Man 3 opening weekend prediction: $172.4 million
On Wednesday, I’ll make my predictions for the top five this weekend. SPOILER ALERT: I’m going with Iron Man 3 at number one.