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Iron Man 3 tops 2013 global box office as sequels and reboots dominate

Eight of the top 10 financial sucesses of last year picked up on previous films

Superhero movie Iron Man 3 has topped the global box office for 2013, grossing a massive $1.2 billion (£734m) in a chart dominated by sequels.

The third instalment of the franchise was released in May last year, taking Iron Man’s total cinematic earnings up to $3.8 billion, if revenue from 3D spin-off movie The Avengers is included. These figures make Iron Man the most financially successful silver screen superhero ever.

Adapted from the Marvel Comics series, Iron Man 3 stars Robert Downey Jr as billionaire playboy, and skilled engineer Toby Stark, who creates a special suit of armour that enables him to save the world from crime. Gwyneth Paltrow plays his CEO girlfriend, Pepper Potts.

Animated comedy Despicable Me 2 took second place in the box office chart of 2013, which took $918 million (£555m) worldwide.

The blockbuster adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was third, grossing $795 million (£480m).

In total, eight of the top 10 highest-grossing movies were either sequels or reboots.

Fast & Furious 6, starring the late Paul Walker, was fourth with $788 million (£476m), while Disney Pixar’s Monsters Inc prequel Monsters University was fifth with $743 million (£449m).

Completing the list were Man of Steel, Gravity, Thor: The Dark World, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Croods.

Industry statistics have suggested that 2013 takings at the US box office are projected to have reached $10.9 billion (£6.6bn), in what would be its most successful year to date. In 2012, US box office takings hit a record $10.8bn (£6.5bn).

"We rise and fall based on the strength of movies in the marketplace," Patrick Corcoran of the National Association of Theatre Owners told the LA Times. "After setting a record, it's nice to be able to set another one, even by a little bit."

Factors thought to have contributed to the revenue peak include the inflation of ticket prices, more expensive 3D tickets and the rise in popularity of Imax movies.

The top 20 global box office successes of 2013

1. Iron Man 3 - $1,215,439,994

2. Despicable Me 2 - $918,573,535

3. Fast & Furious 6 - $788,679,850

4. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - $771,484,011

5. Monsters University - $743,559,607

6. Man of Steel - $662,845,518

7. Gravity - $652,394,288

8. Thor: The Dark World - $627,858,622

9. The Croods - $587,204,668

10. World War Z - $540,007,876

11. Oz the Great and Powerful - $493,311,825

12. Star Trek Into Darkness - $467,365,246

13. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - $426,244,000

14. The Wolverine - $414,828,246

15. Pacific Rim - $407,602,906

16. GI Joe: Retaliation - $375,740,705

17. Frozen - $363,012,773

18. Now You See Me - $351,723,989

19. The Hangover Part III - $351,000,072

20. The Great Gatsby - $348,840,419

(Figures: Box Office Mojo)