'Iron Man' beats strong 'Gatsby' in box office showdown
By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud
(Reuters) - 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 studio estimates.
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 $949 million.
"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 film.
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. Continued...