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'Iron Man 3' has second best box office debut in history

Movie-goers stand in line for the premiere of' 'Iron Man 3' on April 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California
Movie-goers stand in line for the premiere of' "Iron Man 3" on April 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. Super-hero blockbuster sequel "Iron Man 3" smashed to the top at the US box office with a massive $175.3 million take -- the second best opening weeken

Super-hero blockbuster sequel "Iron Man 3" smashed to the top at the US box office with a mega $175.3 million take -- the second best opening weekend ever -- industry estimates showed Sunday.

The film starring Robert Downey Jr as the title character now sits behind just "The Avengers" -- another Walt Disney comic book superhero flick -- which earned $207.4 million when it opened a year ago.

"'Iron Man 3' is definitely playing like a pseudo-sequel to last summer's mightiest flick, 'The Avengers,'" said Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock.

It "may be the top movie of the summer, unless the 'Man of Steel'" -- an updated take on the ever-popular Superman story set for release in June -- "has anything to say about it.

The US opening of Iron Man 3 demolished the franchise's previous debuts, with $98 million for the first movie and $128 million for the sequel, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

In second place for this weekend's box office was action-comedy "Pain and Gain," starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, with $7.6 million in ticket sales, Exhibitor Relations said.

Not far behind was "42," a biopic about trailblazing black baseball star Jackie Robinson, which made $6.2 million

The fourth spot, with $5.8 million, went to "Oblivion," the post-apocalyptic action flick starring Tom Cruise, followed by "The Croods" -- a stone-age cartoon -- in fifth, with $4.2 million.

"The Big Wedding" -- a star-studded comedy featuring Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton and Robin Williams -- came in sixth place, taking in $3.9 million.

"Mud," a coming-of-age story starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, earned an estimated $2.2 million, for seventh place, the film's first week in the top ten after going into wide release a week earlier.

And in eighth, Walt Disney's 3D fantasy adventure flick "Oz the Great and Powerful" earned $1.8 million, for a nine-week total of $228.6 million.

"Scary Movie 5," the latest installment in the slasher-comedy franchise, took the ninth spot with $1.4 million.

Rounding out the top 10 at $1.3 million was "The Place Beyond the Pines," starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in a drama about a motorcycle stunt rider who resorts to bank robbery to provide for his lover and their newborn child.

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