Iron Man 3 crushes weekend box office

The Iron Man franchise may just be hitting its stride in popularity, according to weekend box office results. The Iron Knight blasted the weekend box office, pulling in $175.3 million domestically, which made it the second-biggest debut ever next to "The Avengers," which opened at $207.4 million last summer. That total pushes the first movie in Marvel's "Phase II" to $680.1 million worldwide. The movie opened a week earlier overseas, grabbing $504.8 million total so far.

The last two Iron Man entries did not fare as well in their opening weekends, but that's just splitting hairs when you're talking about hits of this magnitude. The original "Iron Man" grossed $98.6 million domestically in its first weekend, while "Iron Man2" brought in $128.1 million.

"Iron Man 2" brought in a total of $312 million for its entire international run, which the latest installment has almost doubled in just over a week.

These results are probably giving Marvel execs a great feeling about the films they have dubbed "Phase II," which started with "Iron Man 3" and continues with "Thor: The Dark World" on November 8, then "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" on April 4 of next year. "Guardians of the Galaxy," an interstellar film based on the comic of the same name with a small but dedicated following and starring a tree-man named "Groot" and a genetically-altered garbage-picker called "Rocket Raccoon." Yes, he's a real raccoon. That one hits on August 1, 2014. The "Phase II" slate then culminates with the "Avengers 2" on May 1, 2015.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.

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