The third installment of Disney‘s (NYSE:DIS) Iron Man franchise went straight to the top of the U.S. box office this weekend and came close to setting a record.
Twelve days into its worldwide release, Iron Man 3 has generated $680.1 million in ticket sales round the world. That includes $175.3 million in the U.S and Canada over the weekend. Only 2012′s The Avengers had a bigger box office first weekend, Bloomberg notes.
Iron Man 3 has now surpassed the total box office receipts of either of the earlier installments and is projected to make $400 million in domestic ticket sales and $1.3 billion worldwide. Disney has leveraged the popularity of Marvel superheroes, building a multi-film strategy in which one movie supports another. Disney acquired the comic-book company for $4.2 billion in 2009.
Analysts say that Iron Man 3′s strong start augurs well for the summer movie season, which features a number of upcoming big-budget blockbusters, including Viacom‘s (NASDAQ:VIAB) new Star Trek installment and Time Warner‘s (NYSE:TWX) Superman-reboot Man of Steel.
Last week, Iron Man 3 set box office records in China, taking in $21.5 million on its opening day.
Despite the weekend’s hefty box office haul, shares of Disney dipped slightly in Monday morning trading.