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James Cameron and Marvel Studios have an iron grip on the modern box office. Over the weekend, Marvel’s latest installment in its ever-growing Cinematic Universe -- Iron Man 3 -- surpassed Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon to become the fifth-highest grossing movie of all time, according to BoxOfficeMojo’s worldwide charts.

Shane Black’s Iron Man sequel has earned an estimated $1.18 billion in worldwide ticket sales. It joins Marvel’s The Avengers, which sits at number three on the all-time charts with $1.51 billion. Can the third Iron Man surpass Joss Whedon’s ensemble drama? Probably not, but it has a decent shot at toppling the fourth-highest grossing movie, which -- for the time being – is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Watch your back, though, Boy Wizard. You only have $1.3 billion in the bank, and that’s chump change for Tony Stark and his armored alter ego.

And then there’s Cameron, who – against all possible odds – has the top two highest-grossing movies of all time in Avatar and Titanic. I don’t care how many times you tell me, I still can’t comprehend that Cameron beat his own box office record with Avatar, having each movie cross the $2 billion mark. Impossible … except, it happened.

Will this keep happening, though? Can Thor: The Dark World do the same business as Iron Man 3? While I think crowds love Marvel movies, I think Iron Man benefitted from being the first summer blockbuster of 2013. Cameron, however, has a chance at duplicating his success with the Avatar sequels – if he ever manages to get them out.
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