Scores second-best Friday for a non-sequel

Paramount and Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man” grossed a whopping $33.4 million at the domestic box office on Friday, firing up the summer season and scoring the second-best Friday in history for a non-sequel after the first “Spider-Man.”

Overseas, the superhero tentpole grossed at least $30 million Wednesday and Thursday.

Factoring in Thursday night shows, the summer’s first tentpole has grossed a sizeable $38.5 million domestically in its first one-and-a-half days, according to studio estimates. Pic, toplining Robert Downey Jr., is playing in 4,105 theaters.

Paramount won’t release the exact breakdown between Thursday and Friday until Sunday.

Friday’s haul is the third best for the first weekend in May after last year’s “Spider-Man 3” ($59.8 million), 2002’s “Spider-Man” ($39.4 million) and besting 2003’s “X2: X-Men United” ($31.2 million).

It’s also the second-best opening for a non-sequel Marvel property after the first “Spider-Man.”

“Iron Man” should be able to jump the $90 million mark for the three-and-a-half days. In 2002, “Spider-Man” grossed $114.8 million in its opening weekend. The final three-day weekend for “X2” clocked in at $85.6 million.

“Iron Man,” financed and produced by Marvel, skewed heavily male and drew an A cinema score.

Strong debut was welcome news for the film biz as the summer season gets underway.

Coming in second on Friday was Sony’s romantic comedy “Made of Honor,” which grossed an estimated $5.4 million from 2,729 sites.

In third, Universal’s holdover laffer “Baby Mama” earned an estimated $3.5 million from 2,548 theaters, a 45% decline from its first Friday, bringing its eight-day cume to $25.5 million.

Grabbing fourth with $2.1 million, the second Friday for Warner Bros.-New Line’s “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay” took a 65% hit. However, the sequel currently remains over 100% ahead of its first 2004 installment through its first eight days with a domestic haul of $21.3 million.

Universal’s second comedy in the top five, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” placed fifth with $1.9 million from 2,872, down 44%, for a running cume in its third frame of $40.6 million.

Of those specialty titles reporting yesterday, Helen Hunt’s feature directorial debut “Then She Found Me” about a New York schoolteacher’s midlife crisis, discovered $53,000 in its second Friday from 53 engagements. To date, the ThinkFilm release has grossed $148,000.

The 2007 Sundance Film Festival premiere “Son of Rambow” about two British boys’ fixation with the movie action hero shot up $16,000 in its first day from five theaters in Los Angeles and New York or $3,260 per theater. The pic has already been in release for the last four weeks in its Blighty homeland where it has pulled in $7.6 million.

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