Iron Man rules world, Pain & Gain takes US

2013-04-29 08:21
Los Angeles - Iron Man 3 was the heavy-lifter at theatres with a debut outside the US that overshadowed a gang of mercenary bodybuilders in a sleepy pre-summer weekend at the domestic box office.

The Marvel Studios superhero sequel starring Robert Downey Jr got a head-start on its domestic launch next Friday with a $195.3m opening in 42 overseas markets, distributor Disney reported on Sunday.

That topped the $185.1m start for Marvel's The Avengers, which opened in 39 markets over the same weekend last year a week ahead of its record-breaking domestic debut of $207.4m.

"You don't know that you could ever repeat the kind of experience we had a year ago, and here the Marvel team brought together another incredible movie," said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney.

"We've had this as a pattern for Marvel films to kind of let momentum internationally help signal to the domestic audience that the film is coming, something big is coming."

Passion project

Director Michael Bay's true-crime tale Pain & Gain muscled into first-place domestically with a $20m debut.

The Paramount release starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie knocked off Tom Cruise's sci-fi adventure Oblivion after a week in the No 1 spot. Universal's Oblivion slipped to second-place with $17.4m, raising its domestic total to $64.7m.

Lionsgate's all-star nuptial comedy The Big Wedding tanked at No 4 with just $7.5m. The ensemble cast includes Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon and Katherine Heigl, but the movie was almost universally trashed by critics and held little interest for audiences.

Paramount, which distributed the earlier Iron Man movies and still has a financial stake in the comic-book flicks after Disney bought Marvel, had a small-scale success with Pain & Gain.

A passion project for Bay, who has made Paramount a fortune with his Transformers franchise, Pain & Gain was shot for a modest $26m, spare change compared to the director's usual budgets.