'Iron Man 3' box office tops 'Harry Potter,' lags 'Avengers' for second biggest US opening ever

iron-man-3-box-office-gwyneth-paltrow-marvel.jpg "Iron Man 3" launched Hollywood's summer movie season in heroic style with a massive $175.3 million opening weekend.

That's good enough to rank second on the list of all-time biggest opening weekends at the U.S. box office, behind "IM3's" Marvel predecessor "The Avengers" ($207.4 million) but ahead of the epic franchise finale "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" ($169.2 million).

"IM3" continued the franchise tradition of each film opening larger than the last. "Iron Man" opened to $98.6 million in 2008 and "Iron Man 2" followed with $128.1 million in 2010.

"IM3" began rolling out in overseas markets on April 24, ahead of its U.S. debut, and has already hit $504 million overseas for a worldwide total of $680 million. Standout markets include the U.K., China, South Korea, Australia, Mexico and France.

With "IM3" sucking up all the air, the U.S. box office was otherwise relatively quiet with previous #1 movies "Pain and Gain," "42," "Oblivion" and "The Croods" rounding out the top five. "Pain" took a hefty 63% tumble in its second weekend and looks to disappear from theaters quickly.

In the only other notable top 10 performance, indie drama "Mud" starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon expanded into 200 new theaters and slipped a slight 3% from last weekend.

Next weekend brings the release of one of summer's biggest gambles -- Baz Luhrmann's splashy "The Great Gatsby" -- and the Tyler Perry produced "Peeples." The next major event movie -- "Star Trek Into Darkness" -- opens May 15 on IMAX screens and May 17 everywhere.
Photo/Video credit: Disney / Marvel