"Iron Man" pounds rivals at box offices

Sun May 11, 2008 2:23pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Superhero movie "Iron Man" pounded the competition at North American box offices for the second straight weekend, landing at No. 1 with $50.5 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The movie about a comic book hero in a high-tech suit of armor took in $12,284 per theater at 4,111 locations, and saw its total box office rise to $177 million after only about 10 days in theaters.

"Iron Man" blasted by two new entries this weekend, family adventure "Speed Racer" and romantic comedy "What Happens in Vegas," which battled for the No. 2 and No. 3 positions.

"Speed Racer" finished in the second-place spot with $20.2 million in ticket sales to $20 million for No. 3 "Vegas," according to Sunday's estimates. But those figures could change when Monday's final weekend tallies are released.

"Speed Racer" got off to a slow start for the big-budget film's backers at Warner Bros. who had high hopes the movie would prove to be a runaway hit for kids and their parents.

"We were disappointed with the results over the weekend," said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros.

However, Fellman said surveys of audiences leaving theaters showed they had positive reactions to the movie about a race car driver named Speed who must stop wealthy corporations from using profits to fix races. It was made by the directors of the "Matrix," brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski.

"We're hoping, optimistically, that the movie can turn it around and sustain an audience into the summer but only time will tell at this early stage," Fellman said.   Continued...

<p>Actor Robert Downey Jr. is shown in this undated publicity photo released to Reuters April 23, 2008 in a scene from Paramount Pictures film "Iron Man". REUTERS/Zade Rosenthal/Paramount Pictures/Handout</p>