"Iron Man 3" has landed.

The film, starring Robert Downey Jr. as the Marvel superhero, earned $15.6 million from late night showings on Thursday night, and is aiming for a huge domestic opening, following an already-massive worldwide take. 

Showings started at 9 pm on Thursday, and the Marvel hero is now facing the Mandarin on 4,253 screens in North America. "Iron Man 3" opening earlier in many international markets, where it has already taken in an eye-popping $361 million.

However, the film's big opening night numbers couldn't measure up to "The Avengers," which scored $18.7 million in midnights showings last year. Record-wise, "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2" is still the king. That film earned a massive $43.5 million in 2011.

As predicted, "Iron Man 3" is likely to earn north of $150 million domestically by the end of the weekend.

2008's "Iron Man" earned a domestic total of $318 million (worldwide total: $585 million), while 2010's "Iron Man 2" was also a success, picking up $312 million domestically (worldwide total: $623 million). 



"Iron Man 3" is the first of the series not directed by Jon Favreau (who stayed on as producer and co-star). Instead, Downey's "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" director Shane Black  called the shots.

The film also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce.