‘Iron Man 3’ Tops Weekend Sales Again With $72.5 Million

“Iron Man 3” took in $72.5 million in ticket sales to retain first place at U.S. and Canadian cinemas for a second weekend for Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel unit.

“The Great Gatsby,” Warner Bros.’ 3-D take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tale of excess and unrequited love in the Roaring ’20s, was second with $50.1 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

“Iron Man 3,” starring Robert Downey Jr., opened with $174.1 million in receipts, the second-biggest debut ever. The movie’s sales are tracking similarly to those of “The Avengers,” also from Disney. That film included the “Iron Man” character with other Marvel superheroes and premiered the first weekend of May last year, generating the biggest opening weekend ever ($207.4 million).

“‘Iron Man 3’ is a proven story with a great cast and it continues the winning record of other Marvel franchises, including ‘‘The Avengers,’’’ said Paul Sweeney, a Bloomberg Industries analyst. The movie is well on its way to $1 billion in sales globally, though ‘‘Star Trek’’ should take the top spot this coming weekend when it debuts, he said.

‘‘The Great Gatsby’’ and ‘‘Iron Man 3’’ build momentum for a summer film lineup that may reverse a 12 percent decline in attendance this year. ‘‘Star Trek Into Darkness,’’ the second film in the reboot of the ‘‘Star Trek’’ franchise, opens next weekend. The film, from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, is predicted to generate $128 million in its debut and $346 million in its U.S. theatrical run, according to researcher Boxoffice.com.

Summer Movies

‘‘Star Trek’’ will be followed by other potential hits, including Universal Pictures’ ‘‘Fast & Furious 6’’ and ‘‘The Hangover Part III,’’ from Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. unit.

In ‘‘Iron Man 3,’’ the ingenuity and confidence of Downey’s billionaire industrialist character, Tony Stark, are tested after a surprise attack destroys his laboratory and the armored suits he dons to become Iron Man.

Ben Kingsley stars as The Mandarin, the apparent terrorist who threatens the world order. Don Cheadle returns as Stark’s friend, James Rhodes, and Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role as Pepper Potts.

‘‘The Great Gatsby” stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, an enigmatic millionaire obsessed with breaking up the marriage of his first love, a woman now the wife of a boorish, old-money snob. Gatsby’s love, Daisy, is played by Carey Mulligan. Joel Edgerton plays her philandering husband Tom, and Tobey Maguire portrays Gatsby confidant Nick Carraway.

Tepid Reviews

The film, made for about $127 million, was projected to take in as much as $50 million over the weekend, the upper estimate of Ben Mogil, an analyst for Stifel Nicolaus & Co. in St. Louis. Australia’s Village Roadshow Ltd. is co-producer of the film with Warner Bros.

“Despite tepid reviews, the opening weekend came in better than most had predicted,” Sweeney said. “Good word of mouth” pushed estimates of the opening-weekend receipts from initial forecasts of $30 million several weeks ago, he added.

The weekend’s other new wide release, “Peeples,” was fourth with sales of $4.6 million. The comedy, produced by Tyler Perry and directed by Tina Gordon Chism, follows a young man’s attempt to fit in with his girlfriend’s upper-crust family. Craig Robinson, of the television comedy “The Office,” stars as the young woman’s suitor.

Completing the top five were the action film “Pain & Gain,” which was third with $5 million, and the Jackie Robinson biography “42,” which finished fifth with $4.6 million.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 6.3 percent to $152.1 million from the year-earlier period, Hollywood.com said. Sales and attendance are down 12 percent year to date.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for May 10 to May 12.

                  Rev.               Avg./    Pct.   Total
   Movie         (mln)    Theaters  Theater   Chg.   (mln)   Wks
 1 IRON MAN 3     $72.5    4,253   $17,053    -58   $284.9    2
 2 GATSBY          50.1    3,535    14,168     --     50.1    1
 3 PAIN & GAIN      5.0    3,303     1,514    -33     41.6    3
 4 PEEPLES          4.6    2,041     2,259     --      4.6    1
 5 42               4.6    2,930     1,566    -24     84.7    5
 6 OBLIVION         4.1    2,770     1,485    -27     81.9    4
 7 THE CROODS       3.6    2,650     1,362    -14    173.2    8
 8 MUD              2.5      854     2,969     17      8.6    3
 9 THE BIG WEDDING  2.5    2,298     1,084    -36     18.3    3
10 OZ THE GREAT     1.1      774     1,393    -49    230.3   10
11 OLYMPUS          0.7      836       887    -38     96.6    8
12 BEYOND THE PINES 0.7      669     1,054    -45     20.0    7

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $152.1 $162.3 -6.3

Year-to-date Revenue

2013 2012 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $3,341 $3,519 -12 Year-to-date Attendance: -12%
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