Iron Man 3 performed heroically at the box office over the weekend, posting the second-highest domestic opening of all time, and already surpassing Iron Man 2 in gross global revenue. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the third installment of the Tony Stark saga pulled in an estimated $175.3 million in ticket sales across Canada and the US last weekend, second only to The Avengers, which saw a $207.4 million opening last year.

Analysts say the film likely won't overtake the $1.5 billion that The Avengers totaled worldwide, though it is on track to gross more than $1 billion, after taking in $680.1 million in global ticket sales after 12 days. Iron Man 2, by comparison, grossed a total of $624 million in worldwide box office sales.

A heroic performance

The movie, which opened in some international markets ahead of the US, brought in an estimated $175.9 million in overseas sales over the weekend, bringing its total to $505 million. Figures were especially high in China, where Iron Man 3 has seen a total of $63.5 million at the box office since opening there on Wednesday. Other notable markets include Brazil, the UK, and South Korea, where the film was already outperforming The Avengers.

In fact, Iron Man 3 likely owes much of its success to last year's Avengers, which also starred Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, and set the stage for this year's "threequel."

"The continuity of the story lines helps these films deliver momentum to each other," Dave Hollis, Disney executive vice president of worldwide distribution, told the Wall Street Journal.