''Iron Man'' Draws $200 Mil Worldwide At The Box Office

Audiences turned out in droves to see the big screen adaptation of Marvel comic book hero Iron Man this weekend, as the film raked in close to $200 million worldwide and came just shy of Spider Man's record-breaking domestic earnings. Domestically Iron Man pulled in a little over $100 million, making it the 10th biggest opening in Hollywood history and the largest opening weekend for a film that wasn't a sequel, according to the Associated Press.

The film stars Robert Downey, Jr. as billionaire playboy Tony Stark, who invents a high-tech suit of armor that transforms him into a superhero. Iron Man also features Gwyneth Paltrow as Stark's assistant.

In addition to winning over critics, Iron Man topped opening weekend estimates of $70 million to $80 million, closely approaching Spider Man's 2002 opening domestic earnings of $114 million.

For Downey the film marks his biggest success since returning to Hollywood after years of struggling with drug addiction. Since gaining his sobriety in recent years Downey has gotten good reviews for parts in several films, but none have approached the blockbuster success of his latest role.

Iron Man also marks the the first film owned by Marvel Studios.

"It's the perfect way to start the new studio, to blast it off," Marvel Studios Chairman David Maisel told New York's Daily News. "We're fortunate to have this powerful Marvel brand, which means something for moviegoers around the world."

The movie was previously expected to feature a cameo from Wu-Tang rapper Ghostface Killah who, inspired by the Marvel comic series, titled his solo debut Ironman and often uses Tony Starks as an alter ego. While his scenes were cut from the film, Ghostface was able to contribute music to the project and has his music video for "Celebrate" played n the background during one of the scenes.