The action movie “Iron Man” easily trounced the competition to win the box office tally for the weekend ending May 4, generating an estimated $100.8 million and becoming one of the few pictures in film history to become an instant blockbuster in its opening weekend.

The film now holds the rank of the ninth-highest debut of all time and second-largest for a movie that wasn’t a sequel. The record-holder also belongs to a comic book franchise owned by Marvel, “Spider-Man,” which debuted in 2002 with an opening weekend of $114.8 million.

“Iron Man” centers around Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., a billionaire weapons manufacturer and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man.

Of Marvel’s dozen PG-13 movies, which include the “Spider-Man” and “X-Men” franchises, 11 have opened at No. 1 (“Elektra” being the exception) and taken in an average of $200 million domestically and $400 million worldwide, according to USA Today. The comic-book studio has nearly 5,000 heroes in its catalogue, including Captain America, Thor and Luke Cage.

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The only other film to make its debut in wide release — the romantic comedy “Made of Honor” — met projections with $15.5 million and second place. The film stars Patrick Dempsey who plays Tom Bailey, a man in love with his best friend Claire. But Tom has a fear of commitment and refuses to admit the obvious, that he should propose to Claire before she finds a less procrastinating suitor. When Colin, a rich Scotsman sweeps Claire off her feet and asks for her hand in marriage, Tom must witness her unquestioned happiness up close and personal, because she’s chosen him to be her Maid Of Honor.
The comedy “Baby Mama” came in third with a gross of $10.3 million, while “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” each took about in $6.1 million to round out the top five.

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Box Office Grosses
Week Ending May 4, 2008

Rank Title Weekend Total Gross
1 Iron Man (2008) $101 M $104 M
2 Made of Honor (2008) $15.5 M $15.5 M
3 Baby Mama (2008) $10.3 M $32.3 M
4 Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) $6.13 M $44.8 M
5 Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008) $6.01 M $25.3 M
6 The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) $4.2 M $45.1 M
7 Nim’s Island (2008) $2.75 M $42.5 M
8 Prom Night (2007) $2.5 M $41.4 M
9 21 (2008) $2.1 M $79.1 M
10 88 Minutes (2008) $1.6 M $15.4 M