'Iron Man 2' wins the weekend

Sequel earns $53 million; 'Robin Hood' takes No. 2 spot

The archer was on target, though less than wholly victorious.

Universal's Russell Crowe starrer "Robin Hood" -- with Cate Blanchett as Maid Marion in Ridley Scott's history-based telling of the well-known legend -- struck the lower edge of pre-release projections with an estimated $37.1 million in opening boxoffice. But comics-spawned sequel "Iron Man 2" from Paramount and Marvel again topped the weekend's domestic rankings with $53 million.

The Robert Downey Jr. starrer dropped a reasonable 59% from its week-earlier opening tally, while boosting cumulative boxoffice to $212.2 million. That compares to a $177.8 million sophomore-session cume for 2008's "Iron Man."

Summit Entertainment's female-targeting "Letters to Juliet," featuring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave, bowed in third place with $13.8 million. And Fox Searchlight's urban-oriented romantic comedy "Just Wright" -- starring Pam Grier, Common and Queen Latifah – debuted in fourth with $8.5 million.

Collectively, the weekend Top 10 rung up $132 million, or 2% more than top performers in the comparable frame last year.

In a limited bow, Roadside Attractions sent out Hawaiian drama "Princess Kaiulani" in 33 locations and harvested $184,757, or a fertile $5,598 per site.

IFC Films unspooled two films with exclusive engagements in New York: Sports yarn "Looking for Eric" scored $7,470 from three screens, or an acceptable $3,735 per auditorium, while drama "Daddy Long Legs" fetched a sturdy $8,857 from a single theater.

Mangusta Productions' dark comedy "The Living Wake" dug up $4,800 in a single New York venue ahead of its planned expansion to L.A. on Friday.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Focus Features' documentary "Babies" added four playdates for a total 543 and grossed $1 million, or 54% less than when the film opened in near-wide release. Representing a light $1,849 per engagement, the second-weekend tally brought pic cume to $3.9 million.

Sony Pictures Classics' drama "Mother and Child" added 14 locations for a total 18 and grossed $58,791, or an acceptable $3,266 per site, with cume of $117,638.

"Robin Hood" totes a $155 million negative cost, but only for three helpful reasons: Scott came in under budget, the U.K. production exploited significant local tax credits and Universal wrote off up to $25 million in development previously after the project was shelved temporarily in 2008.

A simultaneous rollout of "Robin Hood" in most international territories this weekend produced $74 million in foreign coin. The film's domestic bow was the third-highest ever for its British helmer, whose personal best remains February 2001's $58 million debut of "Hannibal."

"The strategy of this film was always a worldwide launch," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said. "So there's plenty to be excited about."

Opening audiences for "Robin Hood" were comprised 56% of males, with 63% of patrons aged 30 or older.

"Juliet" also opened on the lower-end of pre-release forecasts. The Gary Winick-directed pic attracted opening audiences skewing 81% female, with 63% of patrons aged 25 or older.

"It was on the lower end of expectations but in the range were expecting," Summit distribution president Richie Fay said.

Summit expects the pic to hold up well in subsequent weekends, Fay added.

"Wright" audiences were dominated by African-American moviegoers and comprised 67% of females with 71% of patrons aged 25 or older.

"It was right in line with our pre-release expectations," Fox senior vp distribution Chris Aronson said. "I think the picture's playability is great, and we'll stick around for awhile."

Looking ahead to Friday, Paramount opens DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek Forever After," while Universal debuts action comedy "MacGruber."
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