'Gatsby' shines, but 'Iron Man 3' leads box office

"The Great Gatsby" had a $51.1 million debut, but still came in second place to "Iron Man 3."

Story highlights

  • "The Great Gatsby" had a magnificent $51.1 million debut at the box office
  • But that number wasn't large enough to overcome "Iron Man 3"
  • That movie came in first place with $72.5 million
If second place is the first loser, then this week that's a pretty great place to be.
Warner Bros.' literary adaptation "The Great Gatsby" stunned the industry with a magnificent $51.1 million debut. Of course, that number wasn't large enough to take down Disney's superhero sequel, "Iron Man 3," which topped the box office for a second weekend with $72.5 million, but it's impressive nonetheless. Ah, the summer movie season: when films actually make money! (Provided that they're not called "Peeples.")
"Iron Man 3," which had the second best opening of all time last weekend with $174.1 million, fell 58 percent in its second frame — a slimmer drop than "Iron Man 2" managed (59 percent) but a heftier one than "The Avengers" scored (50 percent).
"Iron Man 3's" gargantuan $72.5 million weekend gave it a sizzling $17,400 per theater average from 4,253 locations and lifted its domestic box office total to $284.9 million after just 10 days.
Internationally, the film is proving even more invincible. The $200 million Marvel title has now earned $664.1 million overseas, led by massive business in Asia. "Iron Man 3′s" top two international markets are currently China ($95.3 million) and Korea ($54.1 million), and it has become the highest grossing film of all time in both Indonesia and Malaysia. Worldwide, "Iron Man 3" has grossed a truly jaw-dropping $949 million, guaranteeing it will surpass $1 billion sometime this week.
In second place, Baz Luhrmann's roaring '20s drama took in $51.1 million — the third best opening weekend ever for a film that didn't hit No. 1. (In 2004, "The Day After Tomorrow" debuted with $68.7 million but trailed "Shrek 2." In 2009, "Sherlock Holmes" started with $62.3 million but couldn't overtake "Avatar.") The glossy F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Joel Edgerton,