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Disney’s ‘Iron Man 3’ on Track for Sales of Up to $170 Million

“Iron Man 3,” the superhero movie from Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel division, may earn as much as $170 million in its opening weekend, placing it among the best debuts ever, box-office tracker Box-Office said.

That would be the second-best premiere since “The Avengers,” also from Marvel, opened with $207.4 million a year ago. The current No. 2 is Time Warner Inc.’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2,” which had sales of $169.2 million in 2011.

A big debut for “Iron Man 3” would start Hollywood’s summer on a positive note as domestic ticket sales year to date lag the year-ago period by 12 percent. With potential blockbusters including “Star Trek” and “Man of Steel” lined up, the momentum could carry through to September, allowing studios and theaters to approach 2012’s record $10.8 billion box office.

Yesterday’s showings in 4,253 theaters generated $68.3 million in receipts, the ninth-biggest single-day gross ever, said. The top single-day take was the $90.1 million earned by Warner Bros. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2.”

“Iron Man 3” has already opened internationally and generated big numbers which, in turn, has prompted U.S.-based analysts to raise their estimates for its run in the U.S. and Canada. The movie has generated $361 million in global ticket sales, including $15.6 million from late-night screenings at U.S. theaters May 2, Disney said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

“Iron Man” had $38.7 million on its first day in 2008, and $98.6 million in its opening weekend. “Iron Man 2” earned $51.2 million in its first day in 2010, and $128.1 million for its debut weekend, said.

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