Box office: 'Iron Man 3' hits $68.3 million Friday, will it catch 'Harry Potter' for the weekend?

iron-man-3-opening-day-box-office.jpg"Iron Man 3" is getting Marvel's "Phase Two" off to a sensational start, grossing $68.3 million in its opening day in the U.S.

That number technically includes the $15.6 million the threequel made in "late-night showings" on Thursday (May 2), which started as early as 9 p.m. in some markets. But rolling those late show figures into opening day is now an industry standard, so "Iron Man" isn't cheating.

The opening ranks eighth on BoxOfficeMojo's list of all-time opening days, trailing four films in "The Twilight Saga," "The Dark Knight Rises" and Marvel's own "The Avengers." The biggest opening day of all-time remains "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," but the question now is whether or not "Iron Man 3" can overtake "Potter" this weekend.

Since the "Potter" finale was so front-loaded with fans who needed to see it immediately, it holds the opening day record but not the opening weekend record. "Potter's" $169 million opening weekend comes in a distant second to the massive $207 million take of "The Avengers."

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Industry observers assumed that "Avengers" number was out of reach for "Iron Man 3," but the "Potter" figure could be in play. It will be a close contest as the weekend continues.

The horserace goes to show just how popular "Iron Man" has become. The first film in the Robert Downey Jr.-starring franchise made an impressive -- for the time -- $35.2 million on its first day in 2008 and went on to gross $318.4 million in the U.S. Then in 2010, "Iron Man 2" opened with $51.2 million in one day and grossed $312.4 million in the U.S.

While it's just getting started in the U.S., "Iron Man 3" has already made an eye-popping $388.3 million overseas and should easily clear the $1 billion mark worldwide soon enough.
Photo/Video credit: Disney / Marvel