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Iron Man foils ambitious Gatsby


This article was published May 17, 2013 at 3:14 a.m.


Leonardo DiCaprio (center) stars as Jay Gatsby in the Warner Bros.’ drama The Great Gatsby. It came in second at last weekend’s box office and made more than $50 million.

Iron Man 3 took in $72.5 million in ticket sales to retain first place at U.S. and Canadian cinemas for a second weekend for Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel unit.

The Great Gatsby, Warner Bros.’ 3-D take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tale of excess and unrequited love in the Roaring ’20s, was second with about $50 million, researcher Box-Office said Sunday.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role as 1920s mystery millionaire Jay Gatsby, the latest Fitzgerald update co-stars Carey Mulligan as his lost love and Tobey Maguire as the friend chronicling their doomed romance.

It was by far the biggest debut ever for filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, whose previous best was $14.8 million for Australia (2008). In just one weekend, The Great Gatsby nearly matched the $57.4 million domestic haul that Luhrmann’s top-grossing film, the musical Moulin Rouge! (2001), managed in its entire run.

Gatsby also gave DiCaprio his second biggest debut, behind the $62.8 million take for 2010’s Inception. The film’s success follows a bumpy road to theaters. Originally scheduled for release in December, Warner Bros. pushed it back to summer to give Luhrmann more time to finish his elaborate visual spectacle.

The film, made for about $127 million, was projected to take in as much as $50 million over last weekend, the upper estimate of Ben Mogil, an analyst for Stifel Nicolaus & Co. in St. Louis.

Iron Man 3, starring Robert Downey Jr., opened with $174.1 million in receipts, the second biggest debut ever. The movie’s sales are tracking similarly to those of The Avengers, also from Disney, which premiered the first weekend of May last year with the biggest opening weekend ever ($207.4 million).

In Iron Man 3, the ingenuity and confidence of Downey’s billionaire industrialist character, Tony Stark, are tested after a surprise attack destroys his laboratory and the armored suits he dons to become Iron Man.

Ben Kingsley stars as The Mandarin, the apparent terrorist who threatens the world order. Don Cheadle returns as Stark’s friend, James Rhodes, and Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role as Pepper Potts.

Star Trek: Into Darkness opened with $31.7 million in seven international markets. Its overseas debut included $13.3 million in Great Britain, $7.6 million in Germany and $5.5 million in Australia.

Star Trek will be followed by other potential hits, including Universal Pictures’ Fast & Furious 6 and The Hangover Part III from Warner Bros.

Last weekend’s other new wide release, Peeples, was fourth with sales of $4.6 million. The comedy, produced by Tyler Perry and directed by Tina Gordon Chism, follows a young man’s attempt to fit in with his girlfriend’s upper-crust family. Craig Robinson, of the TV comedy The Office, stars as the young woman’s suitor.

Completing the top five were the action film Pain & Gain, which was third with $5 million, and the Jackie Robinson biography 42, which finished fifth with $4.6 million.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 6 percent to $152.6 million from the year-earlier period, said.

MovieStyle, Pages 34 on 05/17/2013

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