Who makes the top 10?
1. Iron Man 3
Release date: May 3
Comparisons: "Iron Man 2" ($312 million), "The Avengers" ($623 million)
Prediction: $350 million
Why: "Iron Man 2" may have disappointed some fans of the Armored Avenger, but enough went back to the theater to see it a second time for the sequel to almost match the original's $318 million gross. Two years later a little movie called "The Avengers" became the third highest grossing movie of all time (domestically) and put "Iron Man 3" in the stratosphere for potential debuts. Granted, Thor, the Hulk, Captain America and the Black Widow aren't around this time, but Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures are clearly expecting "IM3" to out gross its predecessor. How much will it actually make? Conservatively, we're predicting $350 million, but $400 million isn't out of bounds. In either case, we believe it will hold off "Man of Steel" to win the summer crown. And, if it is the last "Iron Man" film under Robert Downey, Jr.'s reign, that's not a bad way to go out, is it?
Fact: Between 1999 and 2012 nine of the films that have won the summer box office crown opened in May.