'Iron Man 3's' International Debut Rocks Box Office Expectations


It's rare that an international release steals the box office headlines but that's exactly what happened this weekend, as "Iron Man 3" brought in an incredible $195.3 million in its first weekend of release overseas.

That's more than even "The Avengers" made in its record setting run last year. And it was more than enough to overshadow the tepid debut by Michael Bay's new comedy "Pain & Gain," which topped the domestic box office with a mediocre $20 million debut despite the presence of both Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

It will be interesting seeing how Bay and the folks at Paramount end up spinning this one. On the one hand, the movie only cost an estimated $26 million or so to make, so even with marketing added in there's still a good chance it will end up making money. On the other hand, Wahlberg and Johnson are established stars who usually open much bigger. Needless to say there were significantly higher expectations for the two of them together.

Still, first place is first place, even if the box office was down nearly 20% from last year. And "Pain & Gain" was far from the biggest disappointment this weekend. That honor goes to the ensemble romcom "The Big Wedding," which might have been better titled "The Big Failure." Despite an all-star cast that includes Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams, this bit of counter programming ended up counter programming itself into oblivion, earning just $7.5 million for a fourth place debut.

And speaking of "Oblivion," the Tom Cruise sci-fi epic did manage a pretty strong hold of $17.6 million in its second weekend of release, pushing its ten day domestic total to $65 million.

For Hollywood insiders and fans alike, though, this Friday's release of "Iron Man 3" can't come soon enough. It's time to get to the good stuff already!

Here's a look at the full box office top ten, courtesy of Hollywood.com:

1. "Pain & Gain" - $20m

2. "Oblivion" - $17.4m (our review)

3. "42" - $10.7m (our review)

4. "The Big Wedding" - $7.5m (our review)

5. “The Croods” – $6.6m (our review)

6. "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" - $3.6m

7. "Scary Movie 5" - $3.5m (our review)

8. “Olympus Has Fallen” – $2.8m (our review)

9. "The Place Beyond the Pines" - $2.7m (our review)

10. "Jurassic Park 3D" - $2.3m (our review)