Iron Man 3 betters Avengers international debut
Audiences around the world flocked to see Iron Man 3 over the weekend, enabling the latest title from Marvel to beat the debut of Avengers Assemble.
The film, starring Robert Downey Jr as a metal-clad crime-fighter, made $195.3 million (£125.7m) in 42 markets ahead of its US release on Friday.
That tally exceeded the $185.1m (£119m) made by the Avengers blockbuster when it opened in 39 markets 12 months ago.
Crime yarn Pain and Gain was the top film in the US and Canada this weekend.
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay's tale of bodybuilders who become kidnappers made $20m (£12.8m) between Friday and Sunday.
The mid-budget thriller, which also stars former wrestler Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, marks a change of pace for the director of Pearl Harbour and the Transformers films.
In his generally favourable review, the New York Times' A O Scott describes the film as "a stripped-down, modest enterprise in which no major American city is reduced to rubble".
Pain and Gain's success came at the expense of Tom Cruise sci-fi film Oblivion, which slipped down to second place after one week at the top of the US and Canada chart.
Yet its second weekend tally of $17.4m (£11.2m) was still way ahead of new release The Big Wedding, which could only manage a fourth place berth with its $7.5m (£4.8m) haul.
The marriage-based romantic comedy, which stars Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton and Susan Sarandon, had received a critical drubbing ahead of its release on Friday.
Baseball biopic 42 also managed to better The Big Wedding's lacklustre tally, earning $10.7m (£6.9m) from its third weekend in North American cinemas.
Animated comedy The Croods slips two places to five in this week's countdown, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
Iron Man 3 is the third 'stand-alone' vehicle for Downey Jr's wise-cracking superhero, a billionaire inventor and philanthropist who uses a hi-tech flying suit to foil dastardly schemes.
The character appeared in last year's The Avengers - released as Avengers Assemble in the UK - alongside fellow Marvel superheroes Captain America, Thor and the Incredible Hulk.