Weekend Box Office – Lightning Strikes Twice for THOR; BRIDESMAIDS a Strong Second

     May 15, 2011

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The summer movie season is only two weeks old and, here it is, napping on the job. The respite did give Thor another opportunity to flex his muscles before the blockbusters of May get back to work next weekend, however.  The Marvel hero easily conquered his competition to take first place for the second week in a row with an estimated $34.5 million.

Title Weekend Total
1 Thor $34,500,000 $119.3
2 Bridesmaids $22,400,000 $22.4
3 Fast Five $19,500,000 $168.8
4 Priest $14,500,000 $14.5
5 Rio $8,000,000 $124.9
6 Jumping the Broom $7,300,000 $25.9
7 Something Borrowed $7,000,000 $25.7
8 Water for Elephants $4,100,000 $48.4
9 Madea’s Big Happy Family $2,200,000 $50.2
10 Soul Surfer $1,800,000 $39.2

Chris Hemsworth Thor_movie_posterI said last weekend that there were two ways to spin Thor’s debut and, guess what?  There are two ways to spin his second weekend as well.  Sure, the big guy took a hit on Friday, falling by a larger than expected 64%, but he bounced back on Saturday for an overall decline of just 48% for the three day frame.  That’s a slimmer drop than the 59% Iron Man 2 had on his second weekend this week last year.  Of course, Thor’s fellow-Avenger had actual competition to contend with in 2010 so, there’s that.

With a new domestic total of $119.3 million after ten days, Thor remains well behind past May releases like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and just a bit above where the Incredible Hulk was over the same period in 2008.  If not for his foreign grosses, Thor wouldn’t look particularly mighty, in other words.  The Paramount release has already topped $200 million in international sales, giving him a worldwide total above $300 million.  Though I’m not sure he will be able to make it to $500 million once Pirates of the Caribbean 4 sets sail, its not out of the realm of possibility considering 69% of his business has already come from international markets.

I mentioned that on this weekend last year, Iron Man 2 had heavier competition than Thor does today, and by all rights that should have been true.  Few expected either of this weekend’s new titles to challenge Thor the way Robin Hood took on Tony Stark in 2010 (though we all know how that turned out).  Turns out that one newbie, Bridesmaids, was far-more equipped to take on the box office God than almost anyone expected.

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The R-rated chick-flick from writer Kristin Wiig overperformed this weekend – coming in at number two with an estimated $22.4 million from 2,918 locations – well above even the most optimistic projections for the Judd Apatow-produced title.  Bridesmaids ended up crushing last weekend’s bridal-themed Something Borrowed as well as the $17.4 million that Baby Mama earned in April of 2008.  Billed as “The Hangover for Women,” Bridesmaids couldn’t get close to that film’s record-breaking debut, of course.  But one week ago, would we have dreamed of making that comparison?  I think not.

By all rights, the film that should have tempted audiences away from Thor’s rippling pecs this weekend was Priest.  Not only was the sci-fi/horror title based on a graphic novel series, but it was in 3D!  It should have been like catnip for teen boys, right?  Not so much.  The Screen Gems/Sony release was bounced around the schedule for months – especially after the studio’s similar-seeming Legion failed to make an impact back in January of 2010.  With poor reviews and a confusing premise, Priest could not even best the $17.5 million of its studio predecessor; though its $14.5 million from 2,864 locations (70% in 3D) was higher than that studio expected.

I usually end by telling you what to expect from next weekend’s box office but I don’t need to bother today, do I?  If you have been conscious at all you know that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is sailing into theatres on May 20th.  Sorry, Thor.

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