By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud
May 12 Tony Stark's superpowers lifted
blockbuster "Iron Man 3" back to the top of movie charts in the
United States and Canada, beating out a strong debut over the
weekend for lavish Jazz Age drama "The Great Gatsby."
Coming off a gigantic opening a week earlier, "Iron Man 3"
commanded $72.5 million in ticket sales from Friday through
Sunday in its second weekend. "Gatsby," starring Leonardo
DiCaprio as millionaire Jay Gatsby in the classic F. Scott
Fitzgerald tale, earned a strong $51.1 million, according to
Domestic ticket sales for "Iron Man 3" dropped 58 percent
from a week earlier, when the film hauled in $174.1 million for
the second-biggest movie opening of all time. The film from Walt
Disney Co's Marvel Studios stars Robert Downey Jr. as
Stark, a billionaire businessman with a superhero alter ego.
International sales for "Iron Man 3" reached a massive $664
million through Sunday after adding $89 million from the
weekend, Disney said. The film's worldwide take now stands at
"Gatsby" outpaced pre-weekend forecasts for an opening of up
to $45 million. Directed by Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann,
it is the latest Hollywood rendition of Fitzgerald's classic
American novel, "The Great Gatsby." A 1974 version starring
Robert Redford and Mia Farrow fared poorly at the box office.
DiCaprio stars in the title role, a millionaire pining for a
lost love, played by Carey Mulligan, during the height of the
hedonistic 1920s. Tobey Maguire and Joel Edgerton also star.
Rapper Jay-Z produced the soundtrack.
"We never expected to open this picture at this level," said
Dan Fellman, president of theatrical distribution for Warner
Bros., the Time Warner Inc unit that distributed the
Fellman said the picture, which has been accorded the
prestigious opening night slot at this week's Cannes Film
Festival, was now well-positioned for a long run into the summer
as an alternative to traditional action movies.
The majority of ticket buyers were female by 59 percent to
41 percent, and 31 percent of ticket buyers were under age 25,
Warner Bros. said.
"We're going to have a nice, long healthy run," he told
DiCaprio's performance was widely praised, but the movie,
which cost about $105 million to produce, received a mixed
reception from critics. As of Saturday, 48 percent of reviews
recommended the film on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
But in its opening weekend, the film very nearly eclipsed
the total $57.4 million take of Luhrmann's most successful film,
"Moulin Rouge," which went on to win several Academy Awards.
Elsewhere over the weekend, dark action comedy "Pain & Gain"
starring Mark Wahlberg placed a distant third with $5 million at
U.S. and Canadian theaters.
Comedy "Peeples," the other new nationwide release, finished
fourth with $4.9 million. Produced by Tyler Perry, the film
stars Craig Robinson and Kerry Washington in the story of a
well-off family's reunion that is interrupted when a man arrives
to seek their daughter's hand in marriage.
Baseball drama "42" finished in fifth place with $4.7
"Star Trek Into Darkness," which opens domestically on
Wednesday, took in $31.7 million in seven international
territories including Britain, Mexico, Australia and Germany,
Paramount Pictures reported.
"Pain & Gain" was released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of
Viacom Inc. Lions Gate Entertainment
distributed "Peeples," and Warner Bros. distributed "42."