Summer box office season began with a bang last Friday, with Iron Man the first of the pumped-up, big-budget teen-friendly blockbusters to emerge from the bowels of the Hollywood studios this week.
This zesty tale of billionaire weapons magnate Tony Stark (played by a rakish Robert Downey Jr.) – who decides to change his ways and don metallic apparel after seeing the devastation caused by his company’s weapons – has won almost uniformly positive (if not ecstatic) notices from critics and made it the freshest big film of the year so far on Rotten Tomatoes.
The zippy pace, lack of existential naval-gazing and sly sense of humour provided by the talented ensemble cast were all praised, with James Christopher of The Times summing up the critical consensus by dubbing it a “roaring fairground ride.”
More pleasing to the bean-counters at Paramount and Marvel, however, will be the film’s takings. The movie took over £5million in its first three days, which, added to the film’s gargantuan $100 million-plus in the States, already makes the movie a monster smash-hit.
In the wake of Iron Man‘s domination, this week’s other contenders were left fighting for scraps. Nim’s Island , the kiddie-tastic adventure story starring Gerard Butler, Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (the smiley-faced cherub from Little Miss Sunshine) was the second highest new entry — coming in at third place but taking a paltry £850,000. Made of Honor meanwhile, the latest forget-it-as-soon-as-you’ve-seen-it rom-com with Patrick Dempsey in the lead role fared even worse, scraping by into fourth.
Indeed, this year more than ever, it looks like the little guys are going to have to take a back seat as sequels and superheroes boss our cinema screens. In fact, what with the Wachowski brothers’ (The Matrix) latest effort — the family-friendly anime adaptation Speed Racer – out this Friday, and Steven Spielberg‘s long-anticipated/feared fourth instalment in the Indiana Jones series following a couple of weeks after on the 22nd, May could even be a potentially the most lucrative month of the year for the studios.