If second place is the first loser — then this week, that’s a pretty great place to be. Warner Bros.’ literary adaptation The Great Gatsby stunned the industry today with a magnificent $51.1 million debut. Of course, that number wasn’t large enough to take down Disney’s superhero sequel, Iron Man 3, which topped the box office for a second weekend with $72.5 million, but it’s impressive nonetheless. Ah, the summer movie season: when films actually make money! (Provided that they’re not called Peeples.)
Iron Man 3, which had the second best opening of all time last weekend with $174.1 million, fell 58 percent in its second frame — a slimmer drop than Iron Man 2 managed (59 percent), but a heftier one than The Avengers scored (50 percent). Iron Man 3‘s gargantuan $72.5 million weekend gave it a sizzling $17,400 per theater average from 4,253 locations and lifted its domestic box office total to $284.9 million after just 10 days. Internationally, the film is proving even more invincible. The $200 million Marvel title has now earned $664.1 million overseas, led by massive business in Asia. Iron Man 3′s top two international markets are currently China ($95.3 million) and Korea ($54.1 million), and it has become the highest grossing film of all time in both Indonesia and Malaysia. Worldwide, Iron Man 3 has grossed a truly jaw-dropping $949 million, guaranteeing it will surpass $1 billion sometime this week.
In second place, Baz Luhrmann’s roaring ’20s drama The Great Gatsby took in $51.1 million — the third best opening weekend ever for a film that didn’t hit No. 1. (In 2004, The Day After Tomorrow debuted with $68.7 million but trailed Shrek 2. In 2009, Sherlock Holmes started with $62.3 million but couldn’t overtake Avatar.) The glossy F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Joel Edgerton, broke out at the box office despite middling reviews and a “B” CinemaScore grade. READ FULL STORY