Page last updated at 08:43 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 09:43 UK

Iron Man beats box office rivals

Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man
Iron Man sees Robert Downey Jr make a comeback as an action hero

Iron Man has seen off its rivals in the North American chart, remaining at number one for a second weekend.

The action film, starring Robert Downey Jr, beat new entry Speed Racer with takings of $50.5m (25.9m), compared to $100m (51m) in its opening weekend.

Comic caper What Happens In Vegas, starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, made its debut at three.

The top 10 was dominated by comedies, with Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Harold and Kumar in the countdown.

Critical mauling

Dan Fellman, Warner Brothers' president of theatrical distribution, said that Speed Racer - which was some $30m short of Iron Man - "didn't perform to our expectations".

He added that it would be difficult to recoup the anime-inspired movie's $120m (61.6m) budget.

Emile Hirsch and Christina Ricci in Speed Racer
1 Iron Man - $50.5m
2 Speed Racer (pictured) - $20.2m
3 What Happens In Vegas - $20m
4 Made of Honour - $7.6m
5 Baby Mama - $5.8m
Source: Media By Numbers

The film, made by the Wachowski brothers who are best known for The Matrix franchise, had also been subject to a critical mauling.

Box office experts said that Iron Man's second weekend performance - a slide of some 50% in box office returns - was respectable given its massive debut.

Further summer blockbusters will be vying to better the performance of Iron Man in the coming weeks, with the fourth Indiana Jones film and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian due to hit North American cinemas later this month.

This weekend's overall cinema takings were up on the same time last year, but 2008's takings so far are down 2.5% with attendances also down by 5.3%.

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