Although today in Chicago was in the 40's and rainy, it was the first day of summer to me. It's the start of the summer movie blockbuster season. It used to be that the summer movie season started with the Memorial Day weekend, but now it's this weekend, the first weekend in May. I was bouncing up and down in my seat with my family, the biggest kid of all. The theater was packed for an afternoon show, and from accounts, that's the way it was everywhere. Iron Man had such advance demand that it played not just at midnight shows on Thursday, but starting at 8:00 p.m.
"Iron Man," the latest Marvel comics title brought to the big screen, grossed an estimated $32.5 million from its first full day in North American theaters, independent box office analysts reported on Saturday.So, is the movie worth your $9 or $10? Most definitely. It's a spectacle picture that needs to be seen on the big screen -- and loud! I would agree with the 3 and a half star reviews. Robert Downey, Jr. is just perfection as Tony Stark. I love that this is not another "coming of age" superhero movie like Spiderman or Superman. This is the story of a man who'd already lived, and something happens to rock his world and change his view of his life. Casting Robert Downey, Jr. is a shorthand to so much. We see him and we already think hard living, partier -- and smartass. Favorite line to his assistant played by Gwyneth Paltrow when she finds him taking off the Iron Man suit: "Let's be honest, this isn't the worst thing you've caught me doing. "
That tally, generated from Friday showings in some 4,100 U.S. and Canadian cinemas, put "Iron Man" on track to meet or exceed the $85 million-plus opening weekends posted by sequels to two other Marvel franchises -- "Spider-Man" and "X-Men."
The movie, which cost about $150 million to make and another $75 million to market, co-stars Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow and has drawn mostly favorable reviews.
Distributed through Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures, the film is the first self-financed production from Marvel Studios and is being closely watched as the first major release of the summer movie season.
Gwyneth is surprisingly good as Pepper Potts, Tony Stark's long suffering assistant and Jeff Bridges is a serviceable villain, but not one for the ages. Terrence Howard doesn't have much to do, but I was amused that the director, Jon Favreau appears in a cameo as Tony Stark's bodyguard and driver.
Since the film is due to do well, sequel plans are already in the works:
Paramount honcho Brad Grey has apparently stated that as long as the flick does "as well as expected" (and there's no reason to think it won't), the studio wants to get a sequel in theaters for the same May weekend in 2010.
Of course, IRON MAN isn't actually a Paramount movie -- it's Marvel's first self-financed project to hit screens, with Paramount distributing. But with the buzz so far, it's no great surprise they'd all want to get Downey back in the super-suit ASAP. Director Jon Favreau has already said he planned a loose structure for three movies, with Mandarin presumably making a villain appearance along the line.