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Scott Bowles -- USA TODAY

Gatsby was great, but he couldn't dent Iron Man's box office armor.

Despite a debut $20 million above expectations, Leonardo DiCaprio's The Great Gatsby had to settle for an impressive second place as Iron Man 3 held onto the top spot at the box office for the second straight weekend.

IM3 collected $72.5 million, according to studio estimates from Hollywood.com. The haul marked a hefty drop from its debut last week of $174.1 million, the second-largest opening on record. But it was plenty to hold off Gatsby and bring the $200 million film's domestic haul to $284.9 million.

Gatsby, meanwhile, enjoyed the surprise debut of 2013 with $51.1 million, good for second place. Analysts projected the F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation would do $30 million. And critics didn't give it much notice: Just 48% of reviewers gave it a thumbs-up, according to Rottentomatoes.com. But 84% of fans liked the film, the site says, upending forecasts.

"The shock of the weekend is that Leonardo DiCaprio's The Great Gatsby almost achieved a box office upset for the ages," says David Mumpower of Boxofficeprophets.com. "One of those boring novels that no one wanted to read in high school English almost ended Iron Man 3's" reign over the box office.

Michael Bay's action-comedy Pain & Gain was third with $5 million, followed by Tyler Perry Presents Peeples with $4.9 million. The debut fell well below projections, which hovered around $13 million. The Jackie Robinson drama 42 rounded out the top five with $4.7 million.

Final figures are due Monday.

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