Iron Man 3 is on course to rake in $60 million at the box office Friday, sparking a strong start to the summer movie season.
The Disney and Marvel Studios' threequel is pacing for $150 million or more in its domestic debut.
The action film, which stars Robert Downey Jr. as billionaire inventor Tony Stark, is helmed by franchise newcomer Shane Black and sees the return of Gwyneth Paltrow as Stark's girlfriend Pepper Pots and Don Cheadle as James Rhodes. Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall join the franchise as characters threatening the stressed-out Stark.
Last year's blockbuster superhero ensemble pic The Avengers grossed $80.8 million on Friday, May 4, 2012, on its way to a record-breaking $207.4 million North American opening. It went on to become the No. 1 film of 2012.
Iron Man 2, had the 11th biggest opening weekend of all time when it opened the first weekend of May 2010, grossing $51.2 million on Friday and going on to rake in $128.1 million in its first weekend.
Overseas, Iron Man 3 has been following more in the footsteps of The Avengers than Iron Man 2 at the box office. Opening a week ahead in international territories, the tentpole has rocketed past the $300 million mark (the film's foreign total through Thursday is $345.4 million).
The worldwide box office for Iron Man 3 could reach north of $600 million or more through Sunday.