‘Iron Man 3′ Boasts $195 Million Overseas Ahead Of U.S. Debut

Michael Bay's 'Pain & Gain' topped the Stateside box office with $20 million.

“Pain & Gain” was the box-office champ in North America over the weekend, but it was a mighty Avenger who ruled overseas.

“Iron Man 3″ got off to a gargantuan $195 million start in 42 foreign markets over the weekend. Robert Downey Jr.’s third solo outing as billionaire inventor Tony Stark has already made $10 million more than “Marvel’s The Avengers” had in the same period last year, which certainly bodes well for next weekend’s domestic debut. “The Avengers,” which of course united the namesake comic heroes from “Iron Man,” “Thor,” “Hulk” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” opened with $200 million domestically and eventually made more than $1.5 billion worldwide, the third largest box-office haul of all-time.

For now, however, Michael Bay’s “Pain & Gain” gets to bask in the box-office glory Stateside. The action comedy, starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as two bodybuilders turned criminals, got off to a $20 million start over the weekend. That number was lower than some estimates, but exactly what IMDB.com’s Keith Simanton predicted to MTV News last week. Loosely based on true events, director Bay’s break from big-budget franchises was made for just $25 million; by comparison, his “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” carried an estimated $195 million price tag. Speaking of the robots-in-disguise, Bay and Wahlberg are scheduled to reunite for the director’s fourth “Transformers” flick, which is scheduled to arrive in theaters June 17, 2014.

The weekend’s only other wide release, “The Big Wedding,” was a flop. Despite boasting an ensemble cast that includes Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace and Robin Williams, the poorly reviewed comedy debuted at #4 with just $7.5 million.

Recent headlines did nothing to hurt Reese Witherspoon’s “Mud,” which she made with Matthew McConaughey and “Take Shelter” director Jeff Nichols. “Mud” opened in just 363 theaters and took in $2.1 million, which breaks down to a decent $6,022 per-theater average. Meanwhile “Kon-Tiki,” about Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s real-life 1947 voyage across the Pacific in a balsa raft, opened in only New York and Los Angeles with a per-screen average of more than $11,000.

Last weekend’s #1 film, “Oblivion,” was #2 with $17.4 million. The Tom Cruise sci-fi epic has made $65.7 million domestically. Sports biopic “42″ was #3 with $10.7 million for a $69 million total while “The Croods” rounded out the top five with $6.6 million in its sixth weekend, giving the DreamWorks animation flick a $163 million total.