Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 13, 2013

'Gatsby' gives 'Iron Man 3' a run for its money


Starring DiCaprio in the title role as 1920s mystery millionaire Jay Gatsby, the latest Fitzgerald update co-stars Carey Mulligan as his lost love and Tobey Maguire as the friend chronicling their doomed romance.

It was by far the biggest debut ever for filmmaker Luhrmann, whose previous best was $14.8 million for "Australia." In just one weekend, "The Great Gatsby" nearly matched the $57.4 million domestic haul that Luhrmann's top-grossing film, the musical "Moulin Rouge!", managed in its entire run.

"Gatsby" also gave DiCaprio his second-biggest debut, behind the $62.8 million take for "Inception."

The film's success follows a bumpy road to theaters. Originally scheduled for release last December, Warner Bros. pushed it back to summer to give Luhrmann more time to finish his elaborate visual spectacle.

How well the film holds up in coming weeks depends on word-of-mouth from fans. Reviews for "The Great Gatsby" have been so-so, with many critics saying it sacrifices drama and substance for style and dazzle, including Lurhmann's elaborate party scenes backed by a contemporary soundtrack featuring Jay-Z, Beyonce and Lana Del Rey.

"Iron Man 3" was down a steep 58 percent from its opening weekend haul, no surprise given that its $174.1 million domestic debut was the second-biggest ever. The only film to do more business was Downey and company's ensemble adventure "The Avengers," which topped $200 million in its premiere last year.

"The Avengers" held up better in its second weekend with $103.1 million, a drop of only 50 percent. But "Iron Man 3" is on its way to becoming the biggest solo superhero hit worldwide and the second-biggest comic-book adaptation, behind the $1.5 billion "Avengers" payday.

"This is on a trajectory like no other individual superhero movie we've ever seen," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker "In less than three weeks, this thing is honing in on a billion dollars. It's just a testament to the incredible popularity of this character."

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