‘Iron Man’ Opening Night Brings in Big Bucks

Early Friday Morning: Paramount’s Iron Man is, by all accounts, off to a tremendous start, although it is well under the opening night eve totals of $8M+ for last year’s Spider-Man 3Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and Transformers.

My sources tell me that Iron Man played at about 2,500 locations last night with the screenings starting at 8pm. The country’s largest exhibitor Regal Cinemas generated an estimated $1.3M in ticket sales for the Jon Favreau-directed superhero flick while the AMC chain is reporting $1.2M.

Paramount will not be releasing numbers for Thursday night until Sunday, but it’s easy to see why last night’s previews have fallen short of Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and Transformers. Iron Man is a non-sequel, featuring a lesser-known superhero, the early screenings happened on a school night, and they were not aggressively promoted.

Competing studios are floating anywhere from $4.5M-$5.5M for this Robert Downey Jr. vehicle, and I think my projection of $5M made early in the week could very well be right on.