The phrase uttered by Iron Man executives this past weekend to each other was likely "crisis averted". Some executives responsible for the movie Iron Man -- which stars Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow -- expressed concerns that Grand Theft Auto IV would seriously erode the movie's opening weekend.
It appears that the Iron Man executives had little to fear when the final box office tallies came in yesterday. The movie brought in $100.7M over the weekend -- the heady tally makes it the second highest gross for a non-sequel behind Spider-Man and the tenth highest grossing movie of all time. Iron Man' returns were boosted by it showing in an impressive 4,105 theaters.
"We could not have hoped for a better way for Marvel Studios to blast off," said Marvel Studios Chairman David Maisel.
The strong showing by Iron Man in theaters reinforces the fact that big-budget Hollywood movies can still draw in an audience despite high ticket prices and a weakened economy. The results also echoed Marvel Studios president of marketing Geoff Ammer's comments last week. "The two properties can co-exist in the marketplace," said Ammer on April 27. "We believe that moviegoers will make going to see Iron Man part of their weekend plans."
For its part, Grand Theft Auto IV has pulled in record numbers of its own. Although final U.S. figures have yet to be released, estimates peg that the game will have an opening week of roughly $400M -- this would surpass the $300M high watermark set by Halo 3 in 2007.
In the UK alone, ChartTrak says that combined first-day sales for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Grand Theft Auto totaled 609,000 making it the fastest selling game in the UK.