Iron Man 3 is less than a month away from domestic release, and unsurprisingly, it looks to be set for a big opening weekend. Exactly how big is something that industry observers will be watching closely. Deadline reports Thursday that recently released tracking numbers predict a $125 million-plus opening, which would put it right on par or above 2010's Iron Man 2 ($128.1 million in its first weekend). Iron Man 2 went on to gross $312.4 million domestically, and $623.9 million worldwide. The only Marvel Studios film with a higher opening weekend thus far is last year's megahit The Avengers, which holds the box office record at $207.4 million. In some ways, Deadline points out, Iron Man 3 might actually have an advantage over The Avengers despite featuring only one marquee hero rather than several — the site states that total awareness is in the 90s and "definite awareness" is at 67, higher than the team-up film. Deadline also notes that Iron Man 3 has "incredibly strong numbers with women and Hispanics across the board." Avengers famously grossed $1.5 billion worldwide to become the third-highest earning movie in history, and itself surpassed pre-release expectations. In March 2012, two months before the film was released domestically, boxoffice.com projected a $155 million opening weekend and a $370 million cumulative domestic gross, which it beat by $253 million. Another good omen for Iron Man 3's future box office is boxoffice.com's current ranking of trailer views for upcoming movies, which has the Robert Downey Jr.-led film at No. 1 by a considerable margin; 125.4 million views compared to Superman reboot Man of Steel, No. 2 with 69.3 million. That site is predicting a $375 million domestic gross off of a $151 million opening weekend, though if the Avengers pattern continues, those figures may end up looking conservative. The original Iron Man was an outperformer in 2008, and still has the second-highest domestic total of any Marvel Studios movie, behind Avengers (Iron Man 2 beat it in worldwide gross). The Marvel Studios movies that haven't starred Downey Jr. — Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and The Incredible Hulk — all haven't made past $181 million domestically, while both Iron Man films thus far are in the $300 million range (Avengers, with Downey Jr. first billed, grossed $623.4 million domestically). In an article last month, BoxOfficeMojo listed Iron Man 3 as having a 60 percent chance to hit a billion dollars in worldwide totals, the highest in 2013 and ahead of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and fellow Marvel Studios film Thor: The Dark World. Man of Steel was dubbed a "near impossibility" to hit the billion mark. Downey Jr. has been promoting Iron Man 3 extensively in foreign markets, including stops in Korea, China and Russia. Late last month, it was announced that a separate version of Iron Man 3 will be released in China, containing additional footage. Iron Man 3, written and directed by Shane Black, is scheduled for domestic release on May 3, but opens internationally starting April 18 in New Zealand. Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!
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