LOS ANGELES -- Iron Man 3 was the heavy-lifter at theatres with a colossal overseas debut that overshadowed a gang of mercenary bodybuilders in a sleepy pre-summer weekend at the domestic box office.
The Marvel Studios superhero sequel starring Robert Downey Jr. got a head start on its domestic launch next Friday with a $195.3-million opening in 42 overseas markets, distributor Disney reported Sunday.
That topped the $185.1-million start for Marvel's The Avengers, which opened in 39 markets over the same weekend last year, a week ahead of its record-breaking domestic debut of $207.4 million.
"You don't know that you could ever repeat the kind of experience we had a year ago, and here the Marvel team brought together another incredible movie," said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney. "We've had this as a pattern for Marvel films to kind of let momentum internationally help signal to the domestic audience that the film is coming, something big is coming."
Director Michael Bay's Pain & Gain, a true-crime tale of bodybuilders on the make, muscled into first-place domestically with a $20 million debut.
-- The Associated Press