Disney's 'Iron Man 3' gives summer movies a hot start

The latest installment of the superhero flick opened with a $175 million weekend, boding well for the many other films ready to launch.

By Jonathan Berr May 6, 2013 12:31PM
Robert Downey Jr., as Iron Man, and Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man 3 (© W.Disney/Everett/Rex Features)Walt Disney (DIS) has struck gold with "Iron Man 3."

Not only was the film's $175.3 million opening gross the second best in history, but the Robert Downey Jr.-fronted epic also performed well in key overseas markets such as China, according to The Wall Street Journal. Barring any unforeseen calamities, "Iron Man 3," which reportedly cost about $200 million to make, should gross more than $1 billion worldwide, Box Office Mojo says. The film also is a hit with most critics.

Shares of Disney, which have surged more than 30% this year, barely budged on the news, indicating that investors in the Burbank, Calif.-based company had already expected the latest chapter in the story of industrialist-turned-superhero Tony Stark to be a huge hit. But the summer movie season may be off to a promising start, a year after Hollywood studios experienced their worst summer attendance in 20 years.

Moviegoers will have a literary masterpiece and a plethora of familiar favorites vying for their attention in coming weeks.

Friday sees the debut of "The Great Gatsby" from Time Warner's (TWX) Warner Bros, adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald's tale about the life of a mysterious millionaire named Jay Gatsby. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and is set to open Friday. The studio is also set to release, "Man of Steel," a Superman movie, on June 17.

On May 17, "Star Trek Into Darkness" from "Lost" creator JJ Abrams opens. It's his take on the classic science-fiction TV series and is distributed by Comcast's (CMCSA) Paramount studios. In July, Disney's Buena Vista is scheduled to release Johnny Depp's "The Lone Ranger," a Western that began life back in yesteryear on radio before moving to TV.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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