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'Iron Man 3' Has Knockout Domestic Debut

The success of Iron Man led to another blockbuster franchise in Sherlock Holmes, and Downey's professional choices now look limitless.

In an interview before the release of Iron Man 3, Downey said that Avengers director Joss Whedon had been editing a first cut of that film and told him the movie didn't really start until Stark and girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) appeared together on screen.

Downey said that was a testament to the groundwork laid years earlier in Iron Man, which "when we were shooting it, this kind of became the heart of several franchises."

"So you know we're having a nice time," Downey said, sidestepping comment on whether he might return for more Iron Man and Avengers sequels.

Iron Man 3 did four times the domestic business of every other movie out there; the combined total of all other releases was $43.7 million, according to

While it was a huge weekend for Marvel and Disney, the overall industry continued to slump, thanks to the record start for The Avengers over the same weekend a year ago. Domestic revenues this weekend totaled $219 million, down 15% from the $258.1 million during that Avengers weekend last year.

Hollywood's domestic revenue this year is at $3.14 billion, off 11% from 2012's pace, according to

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. Iron Man 3, $175.3 million ($175.9 million international).

2. Pain & Gain, $7.6 million.

3. 42, $6.2 million.

4. Oblivion, $5.8 million ($6.5 million international).

5. The Croods, $4.2 million ($17.4 million international).

6. The Big Wedding, $3.9 million ($2.5 million international).

7. Mud, $2.2 million.

8. Oz the Great and Powerful, $1.8 million.

9. Scary Movie 5, $1.4 million ($4 million international).

10. The Place Beyond the Pines, $1.3 million.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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