11 August 2013 1:57 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

With just three weeks until summer moviegoing peters out after Labor Day weekend, observers already are calling summer 2013 the best ever at the domestic box office. But studios racked up plenty of battle scars from several big-budget flops along the way.

Yet, the combo of familiar franchises like “Iron Man 3″ and “Despicable Me 2″ and ever-increasing ticket prices look to be enough to nail a summer record.

See More: Why Studios Must End Their Mega-Budget Obsession

Domestic totals are estimated at $4.15 billion through Sunday. That’s nearly 12% ahead of this time in 2011 — the previous benchmark summer when totals reached $4.4 billion through Labor Day. Midsummer admissions also were on track for a record.

This weekend saw one of the summer’s last major tentpoles, with Sony’s “Elysium” securing a decent-enough $30.5 million opening. That, along with three other wide releases, was enough to keep three-day totals outpacing the same frame »


- Andrew Stewart

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