Weekend Box Office: (Shocker!) Iron Man 2 Made Lots of Money, Babies Did Not

This weekend, everyone in the entire country went to see ‘Iron Man 2.’ This is scientific fact. Ask anyone.

Actually, that isn’t true. In fact, the ‘Dark Knight‘-busting weekend that some wags were predicting didn’t quite come true. But it still earned a pretty penny, at least enough to warrant an ‘Iron Man 3: With a Vengeance.’ That’s right folks; this time, it’s personal!

Commentary and full Top 10 after the break.

While there were no records broken, ‘Iron Man 2‘ still raked in $133.6 million over the weekend, playing on an almost comically absurd 4,380 screens across the U.S. of A. Now that’s walkin’ around money! Even more impressive, when you factor in the other territories where ‘Iron Man 2’ has already opened (many areas, in Europe, to avoid the World Cup), its cumulative total is $327 million. Yeah, that’s good scratch. The #2 movie, the dreadful ‘Nightmare on Elm Street‘ redux, made $9.1 million, which is probably how much the ‘Iron Man 2’ audiences spent on popcorn alone.

And while many of you undoubtedly saw it, I wonder what you guys thought. (Please, tell me in the comments!) I went to see the movie with a paying crowd over the weekend and was struck by two things. First, Sam Rockwell really does just steal the movie out from under everything (clashing droids, zooming race cars) and everyone (including our beloved Robert Downey Jr.). The movie is more his than Iron Man’s, as we watch his struggle to obtain greatness while Tony Stark gets involved with a number of interesting but not particularly involving subplots. Everyone knows that Rockwell was considered for the Tony Stark role before production began on the first film. You have to wonder if they made the wrong choice? Or are we happier that we got him in a scenery-chewing slot as the villainous Justin Hammer? (He better be back in a sequel or spin-off, or so help me god…)

Oh, and the second thing that struck me was how my audience, in suburban Connecticut, didn’t really connect with Rockwell. At all.

At the press screening I went to, I felt like I heard one of every ten words that came out of Rockwell’s mouth. The crowd just ate him up and were laughing hysterically every time he appeared on screen. (And, I felt, they were more than a little unnerved when his more outwardly villainous tendencies showed themselves towards the film’s finale.) But at the showing over the weekend, with the paying crowd, I barely heard a peep, even in the tour-de-force scene where he’s showing Rhodey all the different weapons he can equip his War Machine suit with. I think I might have even seen a tumbleweed roll across the front of the theater.

The third thing I was struck with was how little action there actually is in ‘Iron Man 2.’ There’s basically three action sequences, one per act… which I’m not complaining about (AT ALL). But I wonder if the movie-going public wasn’t a little bit let down by the weird hybrid of summer superhero spectacle and talky, messy relationship drama.

So — do tell!

The weekend’s other big movie, ‘Babies,’ bombed predictably, debuting at #10 in the Top 10. Guess this isn’t the next ‘March of the Penguins,’ which is how Focus Features was trying to sell it. Nobody seemed to be buying.

Besides that, this weekend’s Top 10 looks a lot like last week’s, although we saw ‘Kick-Ass‘ bow out of the chart. I wouldn’t call ‘Kick-Ass’ an out-and-out flop, but for all the pre-release buzz (and ensuing media uproar), it didn’t make much of a dent at the box office. It’ll make back what was spent on it, and I’m sure will make a fairly quantifiable profit when it’s released on home video to become a word-of-mouth cult movie. And, at the very least, it has more than doubled what Warner Bros’ similar comic book outing ‘The Losers‘ will end up making.

The box office Top 10:

01 ‘Iron Man 2’ (Marvel/Paramount) – $133.6 million

02 ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ (New Line) – $9.1 million

03 ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ (DreamWorks Animation) – $6.7 million

04 ‘Date Night’ (Fox) – $5.3 million

05 ‘The Back Up Plan’ (CBS Films) – $4.3 million

06 ‘Furry Vengeance’ (Summit) – $4 million

07 ‘Clash of the Titans’ (Warner Bros) – $2.3 million

08 ‘Death at a Funeral’ (Sony) – $2.1 million

09 ‘The Losers’ (Warner Bros) – $1.8 million

10 ‘Babies’ (Focus Features) – $1.5 million


  1. I loved Iron Man 2 and I concur with your thoughts on Rockwell. A third or so of the audience I was in dug him, the rest didn’t. I can’t get enough of the guy 🙂

    I wish the sill drunken fight scene hadn’t happened. It came off as so very cheesy. The rest though, was fantastic.

    The thing I find strange though, is the amount of reviewers who thought that the first film was better.

    It just goes to show: if you put a whole bunch of really talented people in a movie, you’ll get a good movie. Who knew?

  2. Jane Morgan

    15 million people went to see Iron Man 2 this weekend. That’s only 5% of the population of the United States. Still, $135 million is impressive. I guess that’s a greenlight for 3.

    I took my boy, age seven. We both loved it. (He’s been practicing his Robert Downey Jr fuck-you swagger.) But I did think the first movie was better. Maybe because I love origin stories, the character arc feels more dramatic.

    Jon Favreau, who had me at Swingers, is completely turning into a killer event-movie director. Is that strange to anyone else…? That’s like Vince Vaughn directing Spiderman 4.

  3. BostonMA

    1 is by far a better movie, but i still really enjoyed 2 and am almost positive that it’s a great film. i’m looking forward to seeing it again so that i can hopefully eat up Rockwell’s full on performance like i do in everything else that he’s in. as for the three action scenes, completely fine by me. if a movie’s full of action then the viewer becomes desensitized to it like he/she is to violence because it’s always all over the news. all three action scenes were great stuff. i hope Favreau can make one more high quality Iron Man film to round off the big tril.

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