While Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 is heading for its second weekend atop the box office charts in North America, Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s The Great Gatsby had a jazzy opening day, pulling in an estimated $19.4 million, including the $3.25 million it collected at Thursday night screenings.
Baz Luhrmann’s razzmatazz 3D adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the upwardly mobile Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as his longtime love Daisy, is now heading toward an opening weekend that could approach $50 million. And that guarantees a new opening weekend record for Luhrmann, whose best opening to date was the $14.8 million that Australia opened to in 2008 since his new film has already topped that number.
Gatsby, which is attracting lots of female moviegoers, got off to a quick start on Thursday night by collecting $3.25 million from about 2,000 theaters around the country. Friday, the movie moved into 3,525 locations. Overall, moviegoers awarded it a B CinemaScore.
The movie's Thursday night run beat the midnight performance of previous female-fueled films, including fellow Warner Bros. film Sex and the City 2 ($3 million). Comparisons are complicated, however, since Hollywood studios are now opening their films before midnight. Gatsby did race past the $2 million earned on its opening Thursday night by Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful.
Gatsby, which will open the Cannes Film Festival on May 15, cost about $105 million after $85 million in hefty Australian locations subsidies.
Still, the jazz-age love story will settle into second place at the weekend box office, with Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 hanging on to the top slot. The superhero sequel took in about $19.8 million of its own on Friday and is eying a weekend that could hit the $70 million mark. As of Thursday, the latest Iron Man had taken in $212.4 million at the domestic box office and nearly $776 million worldwide.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry Presents Peebles, a PG-13 comedy written and directed by Tina Gordon Chism and the weekend’s only other new wide release, barely moved the needle. While ranking fourth for the dy, the Perry-produced movie, which stars Craig Robinson as a blue-collar guy trying to impress his girlfriend’s family, attracted just $1.2 million from 2,041 theaters and is headed for a $3.5-4 million opening weekend. It earned a B- CinemaScore.