After repulsor-blasting international box office records last weekend, Iron Man 3 opened to a $175.3 million haul in this weekend's U.S. theater debut for Marvel Studios and parent Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), according to tracking estimates from

Pain and Gain from Viacom's (NASDAQ:VIA) Paramount Studios ranked second, with $7.6 million at the gate, while 42 from Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX.DL) Warner Bros. studio earned $6.2 million, according to figures compiled by Box Office Mojo.

Iron Man 3's $175 million take was the second-largest domestic debut in U.S. box office history. Marvel's The Avengers opened at $207 million last May, kicking off a 22-week run that would end with the film earning more than $1.5 billion at the global gate.

Yet Iron Man 3 isn't winning over audiences as well as The Avengers did, so the chances of a similar performance appear slim. Still, with a half-billion already in the books overseas, and $680 million worldwide, the $1 billion performance I predicted a month ago now looks assured:

Source: Tim Beyers, The Motley Fool.

Disney stock is up marginally in weekend trading. On Friday, the stock closed up 1.4% on justified enthusiasm for Iron Man 3's opening. Official projections had called for at least $150 million in weekend grosses, even as the signs pointed to an even bigger blowout. Consider:

Did you see Iron Man 3 this weekend? Did you like the film? Please leave leave a comment to let us know what you think and whether you'd buy, sell, or short Disney stock at current prices.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Time Warner and Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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