By Paul Dergarabedian, Hollywood Staff
Warner Bros.' The Great Gatsby has divided critics but opened strong, with a much better than expected $51.1 million. Solid support from the female audience and fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel propelled the film to an impressive second-place debut. Under the direction of visionary director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet), this big screen 3-D adaptation of the Roaring Twenties tale of wealth, excess, greed and deception boasts the major star power of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan and a soundtrack featuring some of the hottest contemporary artists. This was a perfectly counter-programmed release in the middle ground of the release schedule between the openings of last week's Iron Man 3 and the May 17 release of Star Trek Into Darkness.Obviously with a $174.1 million North American debut last weekend, Disney's Iron Man 3 was always a lock for first place with a second weekend gross of $72.472 million. With around 215 million North American bucks in the vault heading into the weekend, the film will bank nearly $285 million by Sunday night after just 10 days in domestic release and a worldwide total pushing toward the $1 billion mark with $949 million ($284.9M Dom/$664.1M) globally to date!Dropping way down from the top two films is Paramount's Michael Bay action film Pain & Gain which earned an even $5 million in its third weekend and a total to date of $41.6 million.
Lionsgate's Tyler Perry Presents: Peeples opened in fourth place with a gross of around $4.85 million. According to the studio, the marketing campaign's primary target for the comedy is African American female movie-goers, mothers and their daughters (in celebration of this Sunday being Mother's Day) and fans of the film's producer, Tyler Perry. Perry continues his very fruitful relationship with the studio and his prolific output ensures a consistent flow of modestly budgeted product aimed at a very loyal following of fans.The top 5 is rounded out by Warner Bros.' baseball drama 42 in its fifth week with a weekend gross of $4.65 million and a impressive domestic total to date of $84.7 million. Tom Cruise's Oblivion from Universal lands in sixth with $3.864 million and $81.6 million to date.
Look for the debut of Star Trek: Into Darkness this Friday as the summer movie season continues to march boldly on.
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