Iron Man 2 soared out of the summer movie gate and annihilated all competition over the weekend, cranking up $133 million in box-office sales in its first three days, good for the fifth best opening weekend all time. One particularly interesting note about the performance of Iron Man 2, at least in my estimation, is the audience was comprised of 40 percent females and 60 percent of all moviegoers were over the age of 25. The 40 percent female number, while higher than I anticipated, was a small disappointment to the studio folks, who I suppose expected more gender crossover from a summer action film (note to Marvel: Consider adding a female actress that most women don’t hate). The fact that 60 percent were over the age of 25 also prevented Iron Man 2 from breaking records, as movies like The Dark Knight and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest skewed younger. It’s a ridiculous thing to think — because more 18-year-olds saw Iron Man 2 in its opening weekend than probably all of Fox Searchlight’s output in 2009 — but it does suggest that the tweeners think Iron Man is a little too sophisticated for their tastes (it is interesting to note that the youngest lead in Iron Man 2 was Scarlett Johansson , who is only 25 but feels like she’s closer to 30. After her, the median age of the cast is probably 40+). This is why Taylor Lautner is so sought after, folks: It’s all in the demographics. Put him in an action film that guys will see, and the young females will be sure to follow.
Some also note that Iron Man 2’s slight under-performance was due to the lack of a compelling villain, and I won’t argue with that. A villain should be as strong as the lead, and while Mickey Rourke came nowhere near that level, it’s also hard to imagine anyone else playing in the same ballpark as Robert Downey, Jr. I don’t think Iron Man will ever get his Heath Ledger, not unless Anthony Hopkins decides to bring his Hannibal Lector to Marvel Comics.
On the positive side, Iron Man 2 did open 35 percent higher than the original, it’s already the fourth biggest grosser of 2010, and it probably won’t stop until its hit $300 million, plus the same or better internationally. That’s enough scratch to keep the Marvel Universe humming for another decade.
Meanwhile, there were other movies this weekend, though they’re hardly worth mentioning. Nightmare on Elm Street had the biggest one weekend drop since last year’s Friday the 13th falling 72 percent from its opening frame, adding $9 million (Friday the 13th fell 79 percent after its opening weekend). How to Train Your Dragon held on at number three, adding another $6.7 million, to push it over the $200 million mark. Date Night, in fourth, added enough to bring its grand total to $80 million, while The Back-Up Plan hung on tenuously to the top five, grossing a meager $4.3 million.
The bottom five is hardly worth noting, except that Babies debuted at number 10 with $1.5 million, which sounds somewhat disappointing until you realize that it was a documentary that probably recouped its entire production budget on its opening weekend. That review will be up later today.