Viacom’s ‘Thor’ Top Movie Again With $34.7 Million in Sales

The superhero saga “Thor” was the top film at U.S. and Canadian theaters for a second weekend, taking in $34.7 million for Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel.

The comedy “Bridesmaids” opened in second place with $26.2 million and the vampire thriller “Priest” took in $15 million in its debut in fourth place, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

Hollywood is relying on comic book heroes to help surpass last year’s record $4.35 billion in summer ticket sales. Other films based on comics or graphic novels scheduled for release include “X-Men: First Class,” “Green Lantern” and “Cowboys & Aliens.” Studios are trying to erase a 13 percent year-to- date sales decline and a 14 percent drop in attendance. A sequel, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” opens next weekend and is expected to be the No. 1 film.

“It’s going to easily top the box office -- anywhere between $80 million and $100 million -- because there’s absolutely no competition,” Jeff Bock, a box-office analyst with Exhibitor Relations, said in a telephone interview.

In “Thor,” the arrogant, hammer-wielding god of Norse mythology is banished by his father Odin to Earth to live among humans. Thor learns to accept the responsibility that comes with his great power when evil forces invade Earth.

‘Bridesmaids’

Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor and Anthony Hopkins plays Odin. Natalie Portman co-stars as Thor’s human love interest. Paramount is distributing the movie for Marvel, which was acquired by Burbank, California-based Disney last year.

“Bridesmaids,” produced by Judd Apatow, stars Kristen Wiig as the maid of honor who must cope with her own financial woes and personality conflicts among members of the bridal party. The film is distributed by Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures.

“Bridesmaids” had “a huge start for an R-rated comedy that’s geared specifically toward females,” Bock said. “Women don’t necessarily rush out opening weekend. This has the opportunity to play for several weeks.”

“Fast Five,” Universal’s fifth installment in the series about street racers, was third with $20.4 million in receipts. The movie has take in $169.7 million in three weeks in cinemas.

‘Priest’

In the film, Vin Diesel’s character, a racer and professional thief, is on the run from police. He and friends confront a Brazilian drug lord and pursuing U.S. agents to win their freedom. Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson co-star.

Sony Corp.’s “Priest” features Paul Bettany as a clergyman/warrior who breaks his vows to battle an army of vampires and rescue his niece. He also has to persuade his skeptical leaders that the threat is real. Karl Urban and Maggie Q co-star.

“Rio,” the animated film from News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox, had sales of $8.3 million in fifth place. The film features the voices of Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg and tells the story of a domesticated macaw who travels to Rio de Janeiro from Minnesota to find a mate. The movie has earned $125.2 million in five weeks.

Revenue for the top 12 films fell 1.9 percent this past weekend to $128.9 million from a year ago, Hollywood.com said.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for May 13 to May 15.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 THOR               $34.7    3,963   $8,757  -47   $119.5    2
 2 BRIDESMAIDS         26.2    2,918    8,995   --     26.2    1
 3 FAST FIVE           20.4    3,793    5,390  -37    169.7    3
 4 PRIEST (3-D)        15.0    2,864    5,221   --     15.0    1
 5 RIO (3-D ANIMATED)   8.3    2,929    2,825   -3    125.2    5
 6 JUMPING THE BROOM    7.1    2,035    3,472  -54     25.8    2
 7 SOMETHING BORROWED   6.9    2,904    2,366  -51     25.5    2
 8 WATER FOR ELEPHANTS  4.2    2,425    1,733  -31     48.6    4
 9 TYLER PERRY’S MADEA  2.2    1,449    1,528  -47     50.2    4
10 SOUL SURFER          1.8    1,468    1,244  -21     39.2    6
11 HOODWINKED TOO!      1.2    1,276      902  -44      8.6    3
12 INSIDIOUS            1.0      762    1,258  -28     51.5    7


Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $128.9        $131.4      -1.9


Year-to-date Revenue

     2011          2010
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $3,435        $3,935      -13

Year-to-date Attendance:     -14%

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Daniel Kruger in New York at dkruger1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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