So, even though it’s May, the summer season has begun in Hollywood this weekend with the release of Iron Man 3. This is the third year in a row that Marvel has led the summer season. They started with Thor two years ago, and then The Avengers last year. Thor did okay, The Avengers made over $600 Million domestically. Iron Man 3 should fall between that.

As for this weekend, the big question is if it can get to $200 Million over the three day. That’s not necessarily expected, but it could happen. Robert Downey Jr. is the face of Marvel, and people loved The Avengers, so it’s possible. Likely it will scrape close to that.

The big thing to follow is if having a film that grosses a billion dollars worldwide (which it will) will help the film’s director Shane Black. Black, once the hottest screenwriter in the world, took time off from the studio system, and then made Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which made $6 Million domestically, a number that Iron Man 3 should outperform in its midnight shows. With the success of this film (which has already made over $300 Million overseas), will Black be able to make a movie he wants to make, or will he just be wrangled into more superhero movies?

And that’s the crux of modern filmmaking right now. Very few filmmakers have the freedom to make what they want with a respectable budget. Shouldn’t a billion worldwide guarantee Black a chance to make what he wants? The answer right now is “Not necessarily.”

Anyway, this week:

  1. Iron Man 3 – $189 Million

And that’s the only film that matters, though expect Pain and Gain to drop like a stone.

What are you watching this weekend?