Iron Man

The summer blockbuster season is off to a flying start with Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man. Financed and produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount, the spectacularly-reviewed comic book adaptation received an estimated 12% improvement from its opening day for a staggering $36.4M Saturday. That should translate to a $94.74M 3-day, and when Thursday night preview screenings are added in, the John Favreau-directed pic should have $100.24M banked by Monday morning.

On Wednesday night, I went online with my forecast of $102M for the Thursday-thru-Sunday period, while Paramount was trying to hold down expectations. Most industry pundits were calling for $75M-$80M and fretting about how the release of the Grand Theft Auto IV video game might hurt the Iron Man performance. Studio insiders were never worried about competition from the Xbox 360 and Sony Playstation 3 sensation. Industry tracking showed that audiences were hungry for this one, and the near-perfect critical reception sealed the deal.

If these numbers hold, then Iron Man will be the all-time 9th-best opening in box office history, 2nd-best for a non-sequel, trailing only Spider-Man’s $114.8M back in 2002. It is the all-time 4th-best opening for a comic book adaptation and the all-time 4th-best opening for a superhero movie (in both cases trailing only Spider-Man, Spider-Man 3 and X-Men: The Last Stand).

Scroll down to read about the near-certain short-term upside for Marvel shareholders on Monday morning and the start of Paramount’s Billion Dollar Summer.

As expected, Made of Honor (Sony), starring Patrick Dempsey, finishes a distant 2nd. The romantic comedy received a modest 10% Saturday bump for a $5.94M take. The 3-day for Dr. McDreamy’s return to the big screen will likely be just under $15.5M.

The Tina Fey/Amy Poehler fertility comedy Baby Mama (Universal) had a surprisingly solid 2nd weekend with $10.85M, finishing 3rd. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Universal) will likely narrowly edge Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo (Warner Bros) for 4th place.

Iron Man will easily win the weekend Per Theatre Average race with a stellar $23,000 per location. IFC’s Mr. Lonely, starring Diego Luna (Y Tu Mama Tambien) and Samantha Morton (In America), will generate an estimated $17,268 at the IFC Center in Manhattan for the 2nd-best weekend PTA. Claude Lelouch’s Roman De Gare (IDP/Samuel Goldwyn) is headed for a $13,500 PTA at 2 locations, followed by Paramount Vantage’s new Son of Rambow at $13,000 per and David Mamet’s Redbelt (Sony Classics) at almost $11,000 per.

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY PTA ESTIMATES
1. NEW – Iron Man (Paramount) – 4,105 locations – $23,080 PTA
2. NEW – Mr. Lonely (IFC Films) – 1 location – $17,268 PTA
3. Roman De Gare (IDP/Samuel Goldwyn) – 2 locations – $13,500 PTA
4. NEW – Son of Rambow (Paramount Vantage) – 5 locations – $13,000 PTA
5. NEW – Redbelt (Sony Classics) – 6 locations – $10,833 PTA
6. NEW – Viva (Vagrant Films) – 1 location – $8,284 PTA
7. NEW – When Love Begins (ABS-CBN) – 1 location – $6,843 PTA
8. NEW – Made of Honor (Sony) – 2,729 locations – $5,679 PTA
9. The Visitor (Overture Films) – 76 locations – $5,385 PTA
10. NEW – Fugitive Pieces (IDP/Samuel Goldwyn) – 30 locations – $4,933 PTA

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY SATURDAY ESTIMATES
1. NEW – Iron Man (Paramount) – $36.4M – $8,867 PTA – $74.4M cume
2. NEW – Made of Honor (Sony) – $5.94M – $2,177 PTA – $11.34M cume
3. Baby Mama (Universal) – $4.52M – $1,776 PTA – $30M cume
4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Universal) – $2.75M- $960 PTA – $43.3M cume
5. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo (Warner Bros) – $2.62M – $1,031 PTA – $23.9M cume
6. The Forbidden Kingdom (Lionsgate) – $1.8M – $610 PTA – $43.8M cume
7. Nim’s Island (Fox) – $1.33M- $539 PTA – $41.7M cume
8. Prom Night (Sony) – $1.2M – $493 PTA – $41M cume
9. 21 (Sony) – $1.03M – $462 PTA – $78.6M cume
10. 88 Minutes (Sony) – $770,000 – $436 PTA – $15M cume
11. Horton Hears a Who (Fox) – $660,000 – $451 PTA – $149.4M cume
12. Deception (Fox) – $385,000 – $192 PTA – $3.7M cume
*The Visitor (Overture Films) – $320,000 – $2,462 PTA – $1.4M cume
*Young @ Heart (Fox Searchlight) – $150,000 – $1,240 PTA – $839,000 cume
*Then She Found Me (Thinkfilm) – $90,000 – $1,500 PTA – $264,000 cume
*NEW – Fugitive Pieces (IDP Films/Samuel Goldwyn) – $70,124 – $2,337 PTA – $98,000 cume
*NEW – Son of Rambow (Paramount Vantage) – $29,000 – $5,800 PTA – $46,000 cume
*NEW – Redbelt (Sony Classics) – $26,000 – $4,333 PTA – $48,000 cume
*Standard Operating Procedure (Sony Classics) – $14,000 – $1,273 PTA – $45,000 cume
*The Flight of the Red Balloon (IFC Films) – $14,000 – $1,167 PTA – $222,000 cume
*Roman De Gare (IDP/Samuel Goldwyn) – $12,000 – $6,000 PTA – $55,000 cume
*NEW – Mr. Lonely (IFC Films) – $7,000 – $7,000 PTA – $12,718 cume
*NEW – The Edge of Heaven (Strand) – $5,712 – $1,904 PTA – $9,216 cume
*NEW – Viva (Vagrant Films) – $3,347 – $3,347 PTA – $6,208 cume
*NEW – When Love Begins (ABS-CBN) – $2,919 – $2,919 PTA – $4,946 cume
*War Inc. (Independent) – $2,862 – $572 PTA – $22,000 cume

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY ESTIMATES
1. NEW – Iron Man (Paramount) – $94.74M – $23,080 PTA – $100.24M cume
2. NEW – Made of Honor (Sony) – $15.49M – $5,679 PTA – $15.49M cume
3. Baby Mama (Universal) – $10.85M – $4,260 PTA – $32.8M cume
4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Universal) – $6.4M- $2,251 PTA – $45.1M cume
5. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo (Warner Bros) – $6.3M – $2,475 PTA – $25.5M cume
6. The Forbidden Kingdom (Lionsgate) – $4.16M – $1,407 PTA – $45M cume
7. Nim’s Island (Fox) – $2.89M – $1,170 PTA – $42.6M cume
8. Prom Night (Sony) – $2.65M – $1,092 PTA – $41.6M cume
9. 21 (Sony) – $2.25M – $1,006 PTA – $79.2M cume
10. 88 Minutes (Sony) – $1.73M – $980 PTA – $15.5M cume
11. Horton Hears a Who (Fox) – $1.39M – $953 PTA – $149.8M cume
12. Deception (Fox) – $950,000 – $475 PTA – $4M cume
*The Visitor (Overture Films) – $700,000 – $5,385 PTA – $1.6M cume
*Young @ Heart (Fox Searchlight) – $342,000 – $2,826 PTA – $953,000 cume
*Then She Found Me (Thinkfilm) – $205,000 – $3,417 PTA – $329,000 cume
*NEW – Fugitive Pieces (IDP Films/Samuel Goldwyn) – $148,000 – $4,933 PTA – $148,000 cume
*NEW – Son of Rambow (Paramount Vantage) – $65,000- $13,000 PTA – $65,000 cume
*NEW – Redbelt (Sony Classics) – $65,000 – $10,833 PTA – $65,000 cume
*Standard Operating Procedure (Sony Classics) – $33,000 – $3,000 PTA – $56,000 cume
*The Flight of the Red Balloon (IFC Films) – $32,000 – $2,667 PTA – $233,000 cume
*Roman De Gare (IDP/Samuel Goldwyn) – $27,000 – $13,500 PTA – $65,000 cume
*NEW – Mr. Lonely (IFC Films) – $17,268 – $17,268 PTA – $17,268 cume
*NEW – The Edge of Heaven (Strand) – $13,000 – $4,333 PTA – $13,000 cume
*NEW – Viva (Vagrant Films) – $8,284 – $8,284 PTA – $8,284 cume
*War Inc. (Independent) – $7,250 – $1,450 PTA – $24,000 cume
*NEW – When Love Begins (ABS-CBN) – $6,843 – $6,843 PTA – $6,843 cume

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