‘Thor: The Dark World’ Tops Theaters for Second Weekend

“Thor: The Dark World,” the superhero sequel from Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel studios, led ticket sales in U.S. and Canadian theaters for a second weekend, collecting $36.6 million.

“The Best Man Holiday,” from Universal Pictures, placed second in its debut with $30.1 million, Rentrak Corp. said in an e-mailed statement today. The dramatic comedy, a sequel to the 1999 film from writer-director Malcolm D. Lee, was the only picture opening in wide release.

“Thor: The Dark World,” starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, gave Disney its largest November opening ever, marking the start of the holiday season for Hollywood. Another big sequel, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” opens on Nov. 22 for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

“It was a pretty decent weekend, given there were no major releases,” said Paul Sweeney, a Skillman, New Jersey-based analyst at Bloomberg Industries, in an interview. “The box office year-to-date has been pretty flat, so to the extent Hollywood is able to generate any growth this year, it will have to be over the holidays.”

The latest “Thor” outsold its 2011 predecessor in its debut, underscoring the box-office draw of Disney’s Marvel superheroes. “Iron Man 3,” released in May, is the top-grossing movie this year with $1.22 billion worldwide.

$168 Million

In “Thor: The Dark World,” Hemsworth returns as the title character, a Norse god battling to save Earth and the Nine Realms from the Dark Elves, who are armed with a universe-destroying substance. Thor’s challenge is complicated when his love interest, played by Portman, is infected with the substance. Thor must also contend with his scheming brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston.

The film was projected to generate $38 million in its second weekend, the estimate of Box Office Guru. So far it has taken in $145.1 million in domestic theaters.

“Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” is projected to take in $168 million this coming weekend in its debut, according to BoxOffice.com. That would surpass the first installment, which opened with $152.5 million domestically and reached $691.2 million in its worldwide theater run.

“The Best Man Holiday,” made for an estimated $17 million according to Box Office Mojo, beat the BoxOffice.com projection for $24.5 million in sales.

Oscar Contender

The film follows a group of college friends reuniting after 15 years, with actors Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard and Regina Hall returning from the original.

Old rivalries and emotions are stirred when Lance, a football superstar played by Morris Chestnut, and his wife Mia, Monica Calhoun, host a Christmas reunion. The movie centers on the wary friendship of Lance and Harper, a bestselling author played by Diggs, who once had a dalliance with Mia.

The other friends’ stories enter the fray. Hall plays a happily married mom with kids, rocked by a video of her earlier indiscretions that has gone viral.

The movie got a 64 percent rating on RottenTomatoes.com, a review aggregator site.

“Nebraska,” considered a potential Oscar contender, opened in four theaters. It features Bruce Dern as Woody Grant, a grouchy Korean War vet who gets a junk-mail sweepstakes letter he thinks will make him rich. He embarks on a road trip from Billings, Montana, to Lincoln, Nebraska, to claim his prize, bringing his son, played by Will Forte.

‘Free Birds’

The movie, which collected $140,401 in sales for Paramount Pictures, according to Rentrak, garnered a 90 percent rating on RottenTomatoes.

Among returning films, “Last Vegas,” the buddy movie with Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline, placed third, up from fourth, collecting $8.4 million for CBS Films.

“Free Birds,” the animated movie from Relativity Media, placed fourth, down from third last week, taking in $8.1 million. The Thanksgiving-themed movie features the voices of Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson.

“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa,” from Paramount Pictures, was fifth, down from second, collecting $7.4 million.

Weekend revenue for the top 10 films fell 52 percent to $115.1 million from the year-earlier period, Rentrak said. Revenue is down almost 1 percent to $9.25 billion year to date.

The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Rentrak. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales for Nov. 15-17.

                        Rev.   Pct.           Avg./   Total
Movie                   (mln)  Chg. Theaters  Theater (mln)  Wks
1 Thor: The Dark World  $36.6  -57  3,841     $9,525   $145.1  2
2 Best Man Holiday      30.1   --   2,024     14,875    30.1   1
3 Last Vegas            8.4    -24  3,237     2,607     46.5   3
4 Free Birds            8.1    -27  3,510     2,309     42.0   3
5 Bad Grandpa           7.4    -34  3,190     2,327     90.0   4
6 Gravity               6.1    -28  2,560     2,384    240.4   7
7 Ender’s Game          6.0    -41  3,236     1,859     53.6   3
8 12 Years A Slave      4.6    -31  1,411     3,263     24.9   5
9 Captain Phillips      4.4    -23  2,626     1,670     97.5   6
10 About Time           3.3    -30  1,280     2,610     11.4   3

Top 10 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $115.1 $240.5 -52

Year-to-date Revenue

2013 2012 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $9,248 $9,335 -0.9 Source: Rentrak Corp.
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