Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr.

Paramount Pictures

Compared to bats and vampires, a certain canned superhero's no night owl.

Iron Man 2, the presumed movie to beat this summer, powered up with an estimated $7.5 million from midnight Friday screenings.

The number's strong. It just ain't The Dark Knight or New Moon.

Those last two films, along with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, are the multiplex kings of late night. New Moon owns the midnight record with an "absolutely freakish" $26.3 million.

So, no, Iron Man 2 didn't set any records this morning, nor did it come close, and, yes, given that Dark Knight got off to an $18.5 million midnight start, that latter superhero flick's opening weekend record may be safe. (Or not. The jury's still out.)

But before you call Robert Downey Jr.'s debut puny, two things: (1) the original Iron Man's midnight debut was "punier" (about $1.5 million), and that movie turned out fine; and, (2) Avatar's midnight debut was pretty "puny," too, ($3.5 million), and, as you may have heard, that movie likewise turned out fine.

"Iron Man is more of a light, bright movie, where Dark Knight and New Moon are darker movies," Box Office Mojo's Brandon Gray said today. "Perhaps thematically they lend themselves more to the nighttime."

Suggestion for Iron Man 3: More bats. And vampires. 

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As far as we know, Robert Downey Jr. isn't afraid of the dark. Or the red carpet. Check out our coverage of the Iron Man 2 premiere.

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