Delaying Baz Luhrmann's latest film a few months to the more lucrative Summer period has paid off in spades for Warner Brothers.
"The Great Gatsby" scored a glitzy $51 million opening weekend in the United States. That topped estimates from both Warners and other studios.
The success of the film's opening though, especially with women, isn't a huge surprise as right now the box-office is dominated by male-oriented fare such as "Oblivion," "Pain and Gain," "Iron Man" and next week's "Star Trek Into Darkness".
Reviews for the Luhrmann film have been mixed to weak. Critics claim it's a surprisingly loyal re-telling of the F. Scott Fitzgerald book, but Luhrmann's "more is more" approach misses the entire point of the story. It's tracking at 48% on Rotten Tomatoes and 55/100 on Metacritic.
Still, even with that stellar opening, Disney-Marvel’s "Iron Man 3" retained the top spot with a projected $72.5 million for its second weekend.
Through Sunday, "Iron Man 3" has raked in a whopping $949 million worldwide and is expected to pass $1 billion by early this week.
One of the other box-office openings being watched this weekend is "Star Trek Into Darkness" which debuted in seven foreign markets to a $31.7 million opening. That doesn't sound big, but that number is actually 70% higher than the opening weekend of the first film in the same seven markets back in 2009.
J.J. Abrams' 2009 film pulled in a fairly weak $128 million in total foreign box-office (it did double that domestically) so this is a good sign that this film will perform better.