Great News for Disney Stock Investors: "Iron Man 3" Is Already Bigger Than "The Avengers"

Looks like the reviews were right: Iron Man is officially golden.

According to the latest box office figures, Walt Disney's (NYSE: DIS  ) Iron Man 3 earned $195.3 at the international gate this weekend, about $10 million better than the overseas opening for Marvel's The Avengers, last summer's top-grossing film at $1.5 billion worldwide.

Source: Marvel.com.

Shares of Disney stock moved just slightly in weekend trading. That's understandable because of the tough comparable: Iron Man 3 still has a ways to go before becoming the sort of winner that brings Disney more than $300 million in studio operating profit, as The Avengers did.

Still, a win is a win, and Iron Man 3 looks like a knockout in the making.

Meanwhile, back home ...
And not just at the global box office. The House of Mouse is already cashing in here, days ahead of the U.S. premiere, via merchandise sales. I've seen the merchandise collections on display The Disney Store at Park Meadows Mall in suburban Denver. Shirts, action figures, games -- everything you'd want to tempt the average 8-year-old boy, and precisely what I expect from the world's largest licensor. Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS  ) saw sales of Marvel toys and merchandise grow 20% last quarter, no doubt thanks in part to shelf space at The Disney Store.

The House of Mouse has also teamed with France's Gameloft to create the official Iron Man 3 mobile game, introduced worldwide the day the film opened overseas. Today, Apple ranks the game tops in the iTunes Store for iPad and third on the iPhone.

My youngest is already playing the game on his iPad. Looking at the trailer, I can understand why:

Source: Gameloft, YouTube.

All in all, Iron Man 3 looks to be as much a merchandising bonanza as it does a box office bonanza. That, more than anything else, could be what makes this movie bigger than The Avengers.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think of Iron Man 3 and whether you'd buy, sell, or short Disney stock right now.

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