The latest sequel of the Iron Man franchise has once again proven to be a huge success, earning a whopping $175.3 million domestically during its opening weekend. This figure is in addition to the $500 million it has earned overseas in just under two weeks. According to studio estimates, Iron Man 3 has had the second-largest domestic debut ever, coming behind The Avengers which grossed $207.4 million in the same weekend last year. Not even Batman or Spider-Man have achieved this level of success as solo superheroes. Despite this incredible achievement, fans are still left wondering if Robert Downey Jr. will continue as the lead actor in the franchise.
Actor Robert Downey Jr. and the character he portrays, Iron Man, rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange in April. The pair are currently basking in the success of their record-breaking opening weekend, as the newest Iron Man sequel surpassed the previous record set by the final Harry Potter film, which earned $169.2 million in 2011. The movie has already made $680.1 million around the world, including $175.9 million in its second weekend of overseas release. This is in addition to the $504.8 million it has earned domestically so far. In just nine days, the movie surpassed the total $312 million international revenue generated by Iron Man 2 throughout its entire theatrical run. Iron Man 3 also outperformed the first two movies in the franchise domestically, with the original earning $98.6 million in 2008 and the second earning $128.1 million in 2010. Despite the success of the franchise, its future relies on a human man without any metal armor or superpowers, but who has rebounded from Hollywood pariah to global superstar: Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow starred in the movie Iron Man 3, which had a huge opening with $175 million in revenue, ranking it as the second biggest debut ever. The film suggests that Tony Stark may retire from his role as a superhero and live an ordinary life. Downey has been a vital part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing not only in Iron Man movies but also in The Avengers. If Marvel Studios decides to recast Iron Man without Downey, it could pose a challenge, and it remains uncertain whether the upcoming Avengers sequel will be as successful without him. However, Dave Hollis, Disney’s head of distribution, says that Marvel has found ways to create interesting stories with various characters over time and will continue to do so. Without Downey, it would undoubtedly leave a significant gap in Marvel’s expanding cinematic universe.
Iron Man 3 implies that Tony Stark, portrayed by Robert Downey Jr, might retire from his superhero life and live a normal life, but it is uncertain if he can be replaced. According to analyst Paul Dergarabedian, Downey is essential to the Marvel franchise and Avengers as he acts as the spark that ignites all the characters. Though the ensemble could function without him, it would not likely achieve the same box office numbers as the previous films. Downey managed to convince reluctant Marvel executives to give him the opportunity to play Iron Man, even though he had a history of addiction and jail time in his 20s and 30s, which almost ruined his career.
In a pre-release interview for Iron Man 3, Robert Downey Jr. shared that director Joss Whedon had told him that the film would not begin until his character Tony Stark and his girlfriend Pepper Potts (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) appeared together on screen. This highlights how the groundwork laid in the first Iron Man film became the foundation of several successful franchises. Iron Man’s success led to another blockbuster franchise with Sherlock Holmes, and Downey’s career choices now seem limitless. Although he didn’t reveal whether he would return for future Iron Man or Avengers sequels, he mentioned that they were enjoying their time making movies.