The "Iron Man" box office results shattered previous records, coming in second place only to "The Avengers" in terms of success. "Iron Man 3" raked in $175.3 million in the U.S. alone, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
"Iron Man" also ruled the box office internationally the past two weekends, bringing in $504.8 million overseas. With the U.S. tally, that makes $680.1 million only 12 days after the film was released. The third installment in the series trumped every solo superhero film to date, including "The Dark Knight Rises" in 2012.
"Iron Man 3" has already surpassed its predecessors— "Iron Man 2" opened with $128.1 million the first weekend, and the first "Iron Man" made $98.6 million. "The Avengers," which ultimately made $623.4 million domestically and over a billion and a half dollars total, could be the reason that "Iron Man 3" did so well.
"We sat here a year ago with 'The Avengers,' and there was speculation of what the impact of such a big weekend and the coming together of all these heroes might mean for each of the subsequent films," Dave Hollis, Disney's head of distribution, told EW.com. "[We're] first-hand witnessing that the brand is as strong as it's ever been."
Hollis speculated that the benefits of "The Avengers" may extend past the "Iron Man" franchise— it's expected to top $1 billion— to "Thor" and "Captain America," which both have sequels in production.
But what of Iron Man and its wisecracking billionaire pilot, Tony Stark? The last film suggests that Stark could be giving up the super-powered suit for good, and Robert Downey, Jr. is expected to be finished with the series as well.
"Your guess is as good as mine," Hollis told the Associated Press. "Marvel has found a way to tell interesting stories with a variety of characters over time, and it will continue to do so."
"Iron Man 3" cost $200 million to make, market and distribute, and critics have given it favorable reviews, with a total score of 78 percent on RottenTomatoes.com. Audiences were more kind, giving the superhero film 83 percent overall.