What happened
Marvel Studios’ movie Iron Man, an adaptation of its comic book, grossed $104.2 million domestically and a combined $201 million worldwide in its first five days of release to join a short list of films—such as, The Passion of the Christ and I Am Legend—to top $75 million on opening weekend.

What the commentators said
“Hollywood couldn’t wish for a better way to start summer 2008,” said Pamela McClintock in Variety. Iron Man had “the second-best opening ever for a non-sequel after Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man, which opened to $114.8 million on the same weekend in 2002.” It’s also “a resounding victory for Marvel, which is trying to claim more ownership by fully developing, producing and financing their movies.”

“The only real challenge” that the “approximately $140-million film” faced at the box office was “Hollywood’s arch nemesis: Mr. Expectations,” said Josh Friedman in the Los Angeles Times. Distributor Paramount was “scrambling to talk down expectations for the film” out of “fear” that “a solid opening weekend of, say, $65 million could be seen as a disappointment.” Looks like they had nothing to worry about.

“Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment” took “a big risk” by “releasing a big blockbuster so early on in the year,” said the blog InEntertainment, but it obviously paid off. And “rumors are now coming in that Iron Man 2 has already been given the green light.”