DIGITAL DOMAIN

Family auds could help Marvel pic set record

With north of $300 million already from overseas plexes, Disney-Marvels’ “Iron Man 3″ could use that momentum to set a new Stateside opening record, with families the key target.

Iron Man 3″ certainly proved its mettle last weekend with international audiences, soaring past “The Avengers” with a $198 million overseas start. Now, the three-quel is aiming its jet pack toward a Stateside launch in the $150 million range, with reason to believe it could beat the $207 million benchmark set this same weekend last year by “The Avengers.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Iron Man 3′ – Film Review

Having taken $307.7 million internationally, “Iron Man 3″ should outgross “Iron Man 2″ overseas by Friday. Moreover, if “Iron Man 3″ earns $150 million this weekend domestically, it will have grossed in just one weekend nearly half of what its predecessor made cumulatively Stateside, at $312 million.

There are reasons to think “Iron Man 3″ could earn more, however.

For starters, tracking for “Avengers” also ranged widely, from $140 million to $170 million, a far cry from the pic’s record-smashing domestic start. The overperformance was attributed mostly to a greater-than-expected family turnout, particularly for a superhero pic.

On a whole, general tracking for “Iron Man 3″ has mirrored that of “Avengers.” For families, “Iron Man 3″ had a slight edge with first-choice votes as of Thursday morning. That said, families are the most difficult demographic to predict since tracking does not account for young kids.

According to online ticketing site Fandango, “Iron Man 3″ is in similar pre-sales territory as “The Avengers” was at this point. “Iron Man” represents 93% of the site’s ticket sales today.

3D and Imax will be another key component for “Iron Man” this weekend. “Avengers” scored 52% of its opening from 3D, with Imax contributing more than $15 million (or 8%). Since “Avengers,” however, shares for the format have plateaued domestically, with mixed 3D results from “Oz the Great and Powerful,” which earned 53% from 3D opening weekend,  and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” with 45%.

SEE ALSO: ‘Iron Man 3′ Shatters Opening Day Record in China

“Iron Man 3″ bows at 4,253 Stateside locations, of which 325 are Imax.

Internationally, the film has done best so far in South Korea, where it’s grossed $27.6 million, followed by Mexico and the U.K., with $26.8 million each. France, Australia and Brazil round out the film’s $20 million-plus territories through May 1.

The film launched midweek in China, grossing $18.7 million, according to official figures from China Film Group. Other estimates put the film at $21.5 million locally. Either way, “Iron Man 3″ scored the largest opening day tally on the mainland, with the country’s biggest midnight gross, as well.

Early overseas bows have become a normal strategy for summer tentpoles meant to give additional breathing room internationally and help kick-start word-of-mouth in the U.S. and Canada. Disney said it’s been encouraged by positive reactions from overseas moviegoers.

As counterprograming to “Iron Man” this weekend, Millennium Entertainment launches gangster biopic “The Iceman,” starring Michael Shannon and Winona Ryder, at four domestic locations. And Lionsgate bows its holiday-themed war drama “Cinco de Mayo: The Battle” at 20 theaters via Pantelion.

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