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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A week before the summer movie season officially launches in North America, superhero film "Iron Man 2" got off to a flying start overseas with an international debut of $100.2 million, according to box office estimates issued Sunday.
"Iron Man 2" will open Friday in the United States and Canada, a market that this past weekend saw horror film remake "A Nightmare on Elm Street" take No. 1 with $32.2 million.
Paul Dergarabedian, president of tracking firm Hollywood.com Box Office, said he expects "Iron Man 2" to make more than $120 million when it opens in the United States and Canada.
"There's just tremendous interest," he said. "It's the kickoff of the summer movie season. People loved the first film so they're going to line up for the second one -- it should be one of the biggest opening weekends of all time."
"Iron Man 2" opened in 53 international territories this past weekend and made $100.2 million at 6,764 theaters, according to studio estimates.
The film was particularly strong in the United Kingdom, where it made $12.2 million, and South Korea, where it debuted to $10.8 million.
The movie is based on a Marvel Entertainment comic book. It stars Robert Downey Jr. as a billionaire with a suit of armor that he dons to jet through the air and blast away enemies.
The Walt Disney Co last year paid $4 billion to buy Marvel, which in recent years has used its studio division to spearhead film versions of its comic books. "Iron Man 2" is the first Marvel film since that deal closed.
Under an agreement that predates Disney's acquisition of Marvel, Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures is distributing "Iron Man 2."
"Iron Man" made $98.6 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters during its opening weekend in 2008. Paramount said Sunday that for the 53 territories where "Iron Man 2" debuted, it beat "Iron Man's" opening gross in local currency by 26 percent.
"Iron Man" made $585 million at worldwide box offices.
The $32.2 million made by "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is a record for any horror film opening in April or May, said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros, the studio behind "Nightmare."
The animated "How To Train Your Dragon" came in at No. 2 with $10.8 million, a drop of about 30 percent from last weekend. Romantic comedy "Date Night" pulled in $7.6 million and fell only 27 percent to land at No. 3.
"Nightmare" stars Jackie Earle Haley as the murderous Freddy Krueger, who slashes to death teenage victims in their dreams. It is a remake of a 1984 release of the same name and the ninth installment in the franchise.
"There's always been great interest in this franchise," Fellman said.
The horror movie cost a little more than $30 million to produce and opened slightly above expectations.
Meanwhile, opening just below expectations was the family comedy "Furry Vengeance" starring Brendan Fraser, which made $6.5 million at U.S. and Canada box offices and came in at fifth place for independent studio Summit Entertainment.
"The Back-up Plan," starring Jennifer Lopez in her first film since 2006, pulled in $7.2 million in its second weekend to land at No. 4. The romantic comedy is from CBS Films, a unit of CBS Corp.
"How To Train Your Dragon" was produced by DreamWorks Animation SKG and distributed by Paramount. It has made $192.4 million in the U.S. and Canada since its March opening.
"Date Night" is from News Corp's 20th Century Fox. It has pulled in $73.6 million since its April 9 debut.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bill Trott