Box Office Update: ‘Thor 2′ Hammers Past Predecessor In box office takings


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Thor 2  is only really one major new film in the cinemas right now and it has turned out to be a good weekend for the movie business.

Thor: The Dark World opened in Argentina, Paraguay and Hungary this weekend, and it still has yet to unveil in Italy and Japan. Its $38.4 million weekend (a 55% drop from last weekend) was eclipsed by the $52.5 million which the film grossed overseas (covering 94% of the world territories in which it will play) for a $90.1 million worldwide weekend take. That puts the film at $479 million globally, with a lot more to come.

Thor The Dark World

Thor The Dark World

How did it compare with the original Thor? That picture grossed a total of $181 million domestic, so two weeks in the sequel has grossed 81% of its predecessor. The sequel has passed the global grosses of Captain America ($371 million) and Thor ($449 million). So those wondering if the sequel is measuring up, it has done 107% of the original Thor, and it is not near done. Those totals include $41.8 million in China, and $31.6 million in Russia, along with $27.4 million in the UK and $20.9 million in Brazil. That latter territory is where The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opened ahead of next Friday’s worldwide bow. It did $6.295 million, and that portends a monstrous opening weekend.

The saving grace for the runner up films is that they are well situated to be counter programming alternatives to Katniss Everdeen, and that could stave off extinction. While it will have nowhere near the offshore life that has Thor 2‘s Marvel and Disney guys right now lighting cigars with twenty dollar bills, The Best Man Holiday has been overachieving all weekend. A $31 million gross, with strong reviews, is a fine score for a $17 million budget film. The AARP poster boys of Last Vegas continue to show staying power, finishing third with an $8.85 million weekend and a $46.96 million domestic total for an under $30 million budget film. Free Birds is next with $8.3 million and a $42.2 million total gross. Bad Grandpa hung in for a $7.68 million weekend and a $90.2 million cume for a $15 million film. Gravity‘s $6.26 weekend puts its domestic haul at $240.5 million, slightly less than the pictures $500 million global gross.

Ender’s Game follows with a $6.16 million weekend, which puts the film at $53.7 million, a number that unfortunately does not make sequels happen. Behind that is 12 Years A Slave, whose rave reviews continue to propel it, but its hard subject matter still appears to be a limiting factor. The film grossed $4.64 million, and is at $24.9 million. The film’s run has been set up to be extended by award’s season. Captain Phillips hung in for ninth place and a $4.5 million weekend, upping its domestic to $97.6 million, and positioning it to pass $100 million domestic by next weekend. Rounding out the Top Ten is About Time, the Richard Curtis-directed romancer that pulled in $3.4 million over the weekend and an $11.5 million domestic gross. That sounds terrible, but the film had a modest budget, and it has done more than $53 million globally.

All of these films are about to weather a storm in Hunger Games: Catching Fire. That film opened in just one market, Brazil, and its first frame will finish with $6.295 million. That number more than doubled that of the first Hunger Games, which did $3.037 million. In spite of a 28 percent devaluation of the Brazilian Real, when you measure the totals in local currency, Catching Fire nearly tripled the first Hunger Games.

Considering it has been 14 years since Malcolm Lee directed the first installment, The Best Man Holiday is way overachieving, and the question is whether the $17 million-budget film could double its negative cost on opening weekend. I’ve seen estimates it will finish under $30 million, but I am going to stick with the original call that the film will finish in the mid-$30 million range. That will put it neck and neck with Thor: The Dark World, which is expected to finish near $35 million. If there is an upset that will be a giant facial for the hammer-wielding Marvel hero. There isn’t much new to crow about here, and most of the remaining top 10 held serve. Given the paucity of new product, you wonder if DreamWorks is regretting that the Vince Vaughn film Delivery Man isn’t opening this week, instead of being counterprogramming up against The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

In the limited-release category comes the Alexander Payne-directed Nebraska, which is neck and neck with Fruitvale Station for the best film I’ve seen so far this year. One film coming back to Earth is 12 Years A Slave; and Ender’s Game is showing once again why this will likely be a one-off franchise ender. Captain Phillips will crack the $100 million domestic gross mark next week, and About Time seems about done in the Top 10.

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