Iron Man performed a superheroic feat at the box office this week, and now Superman and Wolverine may be trembling in their boots.
The first of the summer superhero films to hit the multiplex, "Iron Man 3" on Thursday crossed the $1 billion milestone after 23 days at the global box office, according to distributor Walt Disney Studios. The film starring Robert Downey Jr. becomes the 16th movie ever to join the elite $1 billion club -- six of which were released by Disney.
The Marvel Studios-produced film also passed an important mark domestically on Thursday, as its gross in the U.S. and Canada flew by $300 million. The movie has now sold $301.9 million worth of tickets here and $698.9 million abroad, raising the picture's overall total to a little more than $1 billion.
Overseas, where the film has done about 70% of its overall business, the movie is already the biggest-grossing title of all time in Vietnam and Malaysia. However, the film is performing best by far in China, the only foreign market where it has collected more than $100 million. Korea, the United Kingdom and Mexico are also generating a lot of business.
The 3-D film, directed by Shane Black, cost Disney about $200 million to produce. The third entry in the franchise is already the most successful by far of the trilogy, as "Iron Man 2" ended up with $623.9 million in ticket sales globally in 2010 and the 2008 original took in $585.2 million.