Fun with Box Office Numbers!

iron man 2It’s fairly safe to say that everybody expected Iron Man 2 to blast open the doors of summer with a huge opening weekend box office take, and it did not disappoint.

The total estimated tally for the new flick came in around $134 million for its first three days in wide release, compared to the $98.6 million that the original opened with in 2008.

This puts Iron Man 2’s opening at the fifth biggest of all time, behind only The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3, New Moon, and Pirates of the Caribbean 2.

In terms of total attendance based on ticket sales, though, it would come in quite a bit lower, probably around ninth or tenth. Keep in mind that on the list of all-time biggest opening weekends, the only movies in the top 100 that aren’t from the year 2000 and beyond are: The Lost World, The Phantom Menace, Toy Story 2, Austin Powers 2, Batman Forever, Men in Black, and Independence Day (and only four of those are from before 1999). Ticket prices are way more expensive these days – – who knew?!?

What’s interesting is that Iron Man 2 only out-performed the original by roughly 35%, which is a significantly smaller growth for the sequel than we saw with X-Men 2 or The Dark Knight or any number of similar movies. It’s surprising when you consider how we look back on the original Iron Man with such praise. You’d think that, with the same director and cast returning for the sequel, that audiences would be more open to the idea of putting money down to see the latest installment based off goodwill from the first.

The only thing I can think of that would account for such a relatively small bump over the first is that, in the previews, we didn’t see a whole lot of Iron Man or Whiplash or, to be frank, much of anything new to speak of. If the previews didn’t do a very good job of establishing a reason to care about the central conflict of the movie, then why should audiences rush to the theater?

Maybe I’m underestimating the influence of critics on the movie-going public. Iron Man 2 got fairly middling reviews, with a 75% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (nowhere near as gushing as the first installment), so maybe that’s why this number isn’t higher than it is.

Nah. That can’t be right. The sequel to Twilight got a 27% fresh rating, and that sucker grossed $143 million on its opening weekend. Oh well. I guess you can’t account for crazy.

Credit to Box Office Mojo for the numbers.