Great Gatsby
Credit: Warner Bros.

The rich just keep getting richer. Last weekend, billionaire playboy Tony Stark scored the second best opening weekend of all time in Iron Man 3. This time around, another millionaire playboy, Jay Gatsby, is breaking out at the box office.

The Great Gatsby had a fantastic first day in theaters, grossing $19.4 million, which puts Warner Bros.’ literary adaptation on pace for a $50-55 million weekend — above even the highest expectations. (I predicted a $43 million frame.) The Baz Luhrmann film, which cost about $100 million to produce, will easily become the director’s best debut ever, and ultimately, his highest grossing film ever — surpassing Moulin Rouge, which earned $57 million in 2001. For star Leonardo DiCaprio, Gatsby‘s big opening will rank second behind Inception, which debuted with $62.8 million in 2010.

Still, the glossy Gatsby couldn’t quite overtake Iron Man 3, which won Friday with $19.8 million. The Marvel spectacle looks like it’s headed for a drop in the 60 percent range (a bit larger than expected), which may give it about $70 million for the weekend and an incredible $282 million after 10 days.

The No. 3 spot belonged to Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain, which is now in its third weekend. The action film pumped up another $1.3 million, putting it on pace for a $4.5 million frame. The film beat Tyler Perry’s latest producing effort, Peeples, which tanked badly in fourth place with a truly awful $1.2 million on Friday. The film, which stars Craig Robinson, David Alan Grier, and Kerry Washington, will be lucky to earn $4 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period, making Peeples the first real flop associated with Tyler Perry’s name. The multi-hyphenate has never had a film marketed on his appeal open in the single digits before.

Rounding out the Top 5, 42 scored another $1.1 million; it should be able to surpass Peeples by Sunday night, by which time it will have amassed about $84 million total.

1. Iron Man 3 – $19.8 million

2. The Great Gatsby – $19.4 million

3. Pain & Gain – $1.3 million

4. Peeples – $1.2 million

5. 42 – $1.1 million

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report.

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Iron Man 3
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