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Iron Man exceeds US box office expectation with $100 million opening blast

Iron Man

Story by Jack Foley

IRON Man, the first blockbuster of the 2008 summer season, has exceeded expectations at the US box office by proved taking an estimated $101m (£51m) in its opening weekend (May 2-4, 2008).

The impressive figures mean that the latest Marvel comic book adaptation has become one of only 10 films to have broken the $100m barrier in its first three days.

Iron Man stars Robert Downey Jr as playboy billionaire arms manufacturer Tony Stark, who is forced to construct a suit capable of battling back against the people his creations have unexpectedly helped to empower.

It co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow as personal assistant and Jeff Bridges as his benefactor and eventual nemesis.

The film had been expected to take between $70 million and $80 million (£35m-£40m) between Friday and Sunday but was seen as a risk because of its leading man’s colourful past.

The release of the latest Grand Theft Auto game was also predicted to have possibly taken a dent out of its box office potential, as gamers stayed home to tackle the latest adventure.

But David Maisel, chairman of Marvel Studios, a new division of the comic book company that released Iron Man as its first movie, told the Reuters news agency: “It’s the perfect way to start the new studio, to blast it off.”

Globally, Iron Man also impressed by taking a further $97m (£49m) in 57 countries, taking its global total past the $200m (£101m) mark.

All eyes now fall upon the next Marvel production – a new version of The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton and Tim Roth, which is due for release in June.

Elsewhere at the US box office, Patrick Dempsey’s romantic comedy Made of Honor, which is part-set in Scotland, took second spot with $15.5m (£8m), while Tina Fey comedy Baby Mama (a previous number one) lay third with $10m (£5m).

Next up out of the blockbuster traps is the Wachowski Brothers’ Speed Racer, which opens on June 9 in both the US and UK, along with the Cameron Diaz/Ashton Kutcher rom-com What Happens in Vegas.