Robert Downey, Jr.'s superhero spectacular Iron Man 3 has crushed the competition at the U.K. box office to land the biggest opening weekend of the year (13).

The third installment of the Iron Man franchise, starring Downey, Jr. as playboy industrialist-turned-crime fighter Tony Stark, has broken the 2013 record set by movie musical Les Miserables back in January (13) following its release last week (ends28Apr13).

The blockbuster raked in $22 million (£13.7 million) over the weekend (26-28Apr13), making it the biggest movie event of the year so far after Les Miserables scored $13 million (£8.1 million) in its first few days on sale.

The figures dwarf U.K. ticket sales for the first two movies - 2008's Iron Man and 2010's Iron Man 2, which brought in opening weekend sales of approximately $7.7 million (£4.8 million) and $10.9 million (£6.8 million) respectively.

Iron Man 3's huge opening has pushed Gerard Butler's thriller Olympus Has Fallen into second place with weekend takings of $1.5 million (£913,370).

The Iron Man sequel, which opens in America on Friday (03May13), is enjoying massive box office success around the world and became Italy's biggest opener for the month of April earlier this week (beg29Apr13).