“Iron Man 2″ rocketed to a strong opening as Robert Downey Jr. reprised his role as Tony Stark, with some assistance from Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow and sexy Scarlett Johansson. The film grossed $133.6 million over its opening weekend, which was big, but no record.
Iron Man was able to power through some early reviews that panned the film for lack of direction and muddled plot.
Among the heavy hitters, A.O. Scott of The New York Times wrote: “You’re left wanting more, but not quite the ‘more’ ‘Iron Man 2′ works so hard to supply.”
The film falls short of the original “Iron Man” movie, but “comes close with solid performances and an action-packed plot,” according to the consensus view on Rotten Tomatoes, a web site that tracks reviews.
The sequel, however, blew out the original’s opening weekend in 2008 when it pulled in $98.6 million.
“We’re thrilled with the combination of the way it’s playing across the board,” said Don Harris, Paramount’s vice president of distribution.
“It’s playing as a fanboy movie, but it’s also playing as family movie, too. I even know a bunch of people who are planning to take their mothers to see ‘Iron Man 2′ on Mother’s Day.”
When “Iron Man 2′s” $194 million in overseas box office gross is added in, the film totaled more than $327 million, and that’s without a 3-D version to juice ticket sales.
Films like “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland” have both scored big box office totals thanks to higher ticket prices for 3-D versions.
Even in a 2-D version, however, “Iron Man 2″ still took in $10.2 million from IMAX theaters. That was a record for an IMAX 2-D film. “Star Trek” previously held the record with an $8.2 million take last year.
In the latest film, Don Cheadle joins Downey as friend and fellow crime fighter James Rhodes. Rourke turns in a solid performance as Russian bad guy, Whiplash.
On the lady-front, Paltrow reprises her role as Pepper Potts and Johansson debuts as an edgy superhero Black Widow.
The sequel scored the fifth biggest opening week of all time.
“Iron Man 2 finished behind “The Dark Knight” in 2008 ($158.4 million) and “Spider-Man 3″ in 2007 ($151.1 million).
“The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” at $142.8 million and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” in 2006, at $135.6 million, round out the top five on the all-time weekend list.
But “Iron Man 2″ easily blew away the weekend competition.
Last weekend’s No. 1 movie, “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” came in second with $9.1 million, clawing to a total of $48.5 million, while s “How to Train Your Dragon” was third with $6.7 million, bringing its seven-week total to $201 million.
Here are the latest estimates for the top 10 grossing films, according to Hollywood.com
1. “Iron Man 2,” $133.6 million.
2. “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” $9.1 million.
3. “How to Train Your Dragon,” $6.7 million.
4. “Date Night,” $5.3 million.
5. “The Back-up Plan,” $4.3 million.
6. “Furry Vengeance,” $4 million.
7. “Clash of the Titans,” $2.3 million.
8. “Death at a Funeral,” $2.1 million.
9. “The Losers,” $1.8 million.
10. “Babies,” $1.5 million.