The real story, though, was the overseas box office, where Iron Man 3 opened a week early. Playing in 79 percent of foreign markets, the Marvel three-quel grossed $198.4 million, which is up on The Avengers's $185 million start at the same time last year. For a full by-territory breakdown and thoughts on the movie's long-term prospects, check out the Around-the-World Roundup at the bottom of this article.
With Iron Man 3 still a week away in the U.S., Pain and Gain was able to narrowly beat Oblivion to take first place at the domestic box office. Playing at 3,277 locations, the movie's $20.2 million debut is one of the lower starts in director Michael Bay's career, though all of his movies (with the exception of 1995's Bad Boys) have been much more expensive. For Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, it's a pretty average start: it's up on The Rock's Snitch ($13.2 million), but off from Wahlberg's 2012 crime flick Contraband ($24.3 million).
Pain and Gain had plenty of star power and a lively, colorful marketing effort from Paramount, but ultimately the premise itself was a bit limiting. It's tough to get general audiences on board for a movie in which the lead characters are violent, sociopathic criminals, and the mix of comedy and violence created weird tonal issues that were a bit off-putting. Those who did show up to the movie weren't thrilled with the final product, either—they awarded it a "C+" CinemaScore, which suggests it won't hold up well against intense competition from Summer movies.
Surprisingly, the audience was 49 percent female—odd for such a violent outing, and likely a result of the Wahlberg/Rock team-up—and 63 percent were 25 years of age or older.
In second place, Oblivion fell 52 percent to $17.4 million. Through 10 days the movie has earned $65.1 million, and with another steep drop likely against Iron Man 3 next weekend it's going to be a tough road to $100 million for this Tom Cruise sci-fi adventure.
In its third weekend, Jackie Robinson biopic 42 dipped 40 percent to $10.7 million. To date, the movie has earned $69 million.
At 2,633 theaters, star-studded romantic comedy The Big Wedding opened to an awful $7.6 million. Among wedding movies, that ranks lower than disappointing entries like The Five-Year Engagement ($10.6 million), License to Wed ($10.4 million) and You Again ($8.4 million). It's also a small fraction of the opening of star Katherine Heigl's 27 Dresses ($23 million).
Female audiences tend to be neglected around this time of year, and in theory The Big Wedding should have served as great counterprogramming. Unfortunately, the movie just didn't look all that appealing: the jokes never really landed, and aside from a trite bit about divorced parents (Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton) pretending to still be married, there wasn't much of a story to latch on to.
As expected, the audience skewed overwhelmingly female (77 percent) and older (66 percent over 30 years old). With a "C+" CinemaScore and tough general competition from Iron Man 3 and The Great Gatsby coming up, The Big Wedding is poised to disappear quickly from theaters.
Rounding out the Top Five, The Croods eased 27 percent to an estimated $6.7 million. The DreamWorks Animation hit has now earned over $163.1 million.
In 11th place, Mud opened to $2.22 million from 363 locations. That's distributor Roadside Attractions' second-highest debut ever behind 2011's The Conspirator ($3.5 million). With strong reviews (98 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and no real high-profile arthouse fare coming out in the next few weeks, the movie could be on pace for nearly $10 million.
Robert Redford's The Company You Keep expanded nationwide to 807 theaters this weekend but only earned a disappointing $1.15 million. Including its grosses in limited release, the political thriller has so-far grossed $2.25 million.
Iron Man 3's $198.4 million overseas debut ranks ninth all-time, and second among Marvel movies behind Spider-Man 3 ($230.5 million). Its top territory was the U.K. with $21.1 million, followed by South Korea ($19.5 million), Australia ($18 million), Mexico ($17.1 million), France ($15.8 million), Brazil ($12.9 million) and Italy ($11.5 million). According to Disney, it also had the biggest opening weekend ever in the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions.
The movie still has openings in China, Russia and Germany to look forward to in the next week or two. While matching The Avengers's $888 million is probably out of reach, it is now guaranteed to wind up with at least $600 million by the end of its run. Add in what should be a very strong domestic performance as well, and Iron Man 3 will likely be the first 2013 movie to reach $1 billion worldwide.
Iron Man 3 expands in to China and Germany on May 1st, and then in to Russia and a handful of smaller markets on May 2.
Foreign hit The Croods added $13.1 million from 67 markets for a new total of $305.6 million. Worldwide, The Croods has now earned over $468 million, and should wind up over $500 million by the end of its run.
After opening strong a few weeks ago, Oblivion has been falling very quickly overseas. This weekend, the movie dropped 62 percent to an estimated $12.8 million. To date, the Tom Cruise sci-fi adventure has earned $134.1 million, and should get past $200 million with the addition of China on May 10th and Japan on May 31st.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation added $8.1 million in China this weekend, and has so far banked over $50 million there. Overall, the sequel has grossed $232.7 million overseas, and still has an opening in Japan (June 8th) to look forward to.
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This Weekend's Forecast:
• Forecast: 'Pain and Gain' to Flex Modest Box Office Muscles
This Weekend in Past Years:
• 2012 - 'Think Like a Man' Repeats, Four Openers Underwhelm
• 2011 - 'Fast Five' Packs Record Heat
• 2010 - 'Nightmare' Wakes Up in Top Spot
• 2009 - Moviegoers Fixate on 'Obsessed'
• 2008 - 'Baby Mama,' 'Harold & Kumar' Yuk It Up
• 2007 - 'Disturbia' Tops Idle Weekend
• 2006 - 'United 93' Bow Doesn't Match Press Frenzy
• 2005 - 'Hitchhiker' Beams, 'XXX' Reamed
• Weekend Box Office Results
• 2013 Yearly Box Office
• All-Time Domestic