‘Great Gatsby’ Surprises Box Office With Fancy $51M Debut

'Iron Man 3' holds onto #1 spot with $72.5 million, the fourth biggest second weekend in history.

It’s safe to say blockbuster season is in full swing when a $50 million debut isn’t enough to be #1 at the box-office.

“The Great Gatsby” beat industry expectations with a super strong $51.1 million opening over the weekend, which would have been enough for the top spot were it not for a certain Marvel Comics superhero. “Iron Man 3″ held onto the #1 position for a second consecutive weekend with a $72.5 million domestic total, the fourth biggest second weekend in history after “The Avengers,” “Avatar” and “The Dark Knight.”

Downey’s third solo outing as the armored Avenger has now made $289.4 million domestically and more than $664 million internationally for an overall total of $949 million. $95.3 million was collected in China, where audiences were treated to exclusive Chinese specific sequence. “Iron Man 3″ is huge in South Korea and is now the highest-grossing film ever in Malaysia and Indonesia. It should join the elite club of movies to have cracked $1 billion before this week is over.

“The Great Gatsby” enjoyed the third biggest opening ever for a film that was blocked from making it to #1; “Iron Man 3″ did the same thing to Baz Luhrmann’s take on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic as “Shrek 2″ managed to do with “The Day After Tomorrow” in 2004 and “Avatar” did with Downey’s “Sherlock Holmes” in 2009. It was the second biggest opening for Leonardo DiCaprio (behind “Inception”) and will soon overtake “Moulin Rouge” as Luhrmann’s highest grossing film ever.

Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s “Pain & Gain” came in third with $5 million over the weekend, giving the Michael Bay-directed action-comedy a $41.6 million domestic total. The movie was made for $26 million, which qualifies as “low-budget” for the “Transformers” filmmaker.

“Tyler Perry Presents Peeples” was a flop at #4 with a $4.9 million debut. It was the lowest debut ever for a film advertised with the Perry name, even lower than 2007′s “Daddy’s Little Girls.” Perry served only as producer on “Peeples.”

“42,” the biggest hit for Warner Bros. so far this year, was #5 with $4.7 million in its fifth weekend. The Jackie Robinson biopic has made $84.7 million in North America thus far.

“Star Trek Into Darkness” opened in seven foreign territories and collected $31 million, outpacing J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot by an average of 70 percent in places like the U.K., Germany and Australia, according to Paramount and BoxOfficeMojo.com. The sci-fi sequel starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto is expected to beat “Iron Man 3″ when it opens domestically this weekend.