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'Iron Man 2' not in top tier yet with $7.5 million from midnight shows

May 7, 2010 | 12:35 pm

SamJack "Iron Man 2" took off with a solid but far from record-breaking $7.5 million in domestic ticket sales from midnight shows Friday.

That's significantly more than the $1.7 million that the original "Iron Man" grossed at midnight shows in 2008. However, it's not among the top five performances for films playing late-night shows after 12 a.m. The all-time highest gross from midnight screenings is November's "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," which took in $26.3 million.

"Iron Man 2" was never expected to rack up record-breaking grosses right away. Presales from online ticket sellers were not even among the all-time top 25, indicating a lack of eager fanboy interest to see the film immediately.

Nonetheless, people who have seen prerelease surveys still expect the movie to gross roughly $150 million this weekend, which would be one of the biggest domestic launches ever. Moviegoers from every demographic have expressed very strong interest in the PG-13 picture. Overseas, the film has already collected $133 million through Wednesday from 53 foreign markets.

"Iron Man's" financier Marvel Entertainment, which is owned by Walt Disney Co., and distributor Paramount Pictures are expecting huge ticket sales Friday night and Saturday.

[(Update, 6:20 p.m.: For ticket sales through Friday evening and an early weekend projection, see our follow-up post]

[Updated May 9 at 9:13 a.m.: "Iron Man 2" opened to a studio-estimated $133.6 million for the weekend. Details here.]

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Samuel L. Jackson in "Iron Man 2." Credit: Francois Duhamel / Paramount Pictures