Unless Harmony Korine's Mister Lonely inexplicably turns into a blockbuster when it hits theaters in limited release (and, hey, it deserves the attention), chances are Iron Man will be the top grosser for the weekend of May 2. But just how much moneymaking potential does this behemoth of an adaptation contain? Nikki Finke reports that Paramount has raised its expectation for the film's opening gross from $45 - 55 million to $60 - $70 million, but it's not hard to imagine it going beyond that.

Beyond the obvious fanboy appeal, the film marks Robert Downey Jr.'s highly anticipated emergence as a marketable movie star. "He is not only back in the game but at the top of it," crows David Carr in his recent Downey profile for the New York Times. Carr writes that Downey sees Iron Man as "a kind of arrival" after his many roles in lower profile films. And then there's his blackface performance in Tropic Thunderthis summer, and his cameo in The Incredible Hulk, which might be the only positive buzz that movie has going for it now.

It's a little disingenuous to look at Downey's roles in the coming months as the first big moments of his career, considering that Chaplincame out over fifteen years ago, and the guy has tons of fantastic performances deserved of reappraisal. Still, he's a unique figure in mainstream American cinema, blending commercial appeal with strangely seductive idiosyncrasies, and his latest roles only help diversify his allure.
categories Movies, Cinematical