Box Office: Thor Hammers Out a Decent Summer Opening

The Reject ReportIt wasn’t the record-smashing, jaw-dropping opening Marvel was hoping for. They probably weren’t even expecting as such, but Thor kicked off the Summer movie season with a decent opening. Time will tell if its longevity makes it an Iron Man-like success or a Hulk-like disappointment.

The reality will probably fall somewhere in between those two. Thor has a broader appeal than 2003’s Hulk, which ended up dropping 69.7% in its second weekend of release after a $62.1-million opening. Iron Man, on the other hand, opened Summer 2008 with $98.6 million and went on to pull in $318.4 million domestic. Thor‘s sustainability won’t be anywhere near that even though it’s chances of topping the charts next weekend as well seem doable.

It has also pulled in $176 million already outside of the US, $242 million in total, so Marvel, Paramount, and The Avengers franchise is safe and secure even if these domestic opening numbers weren’t quite up to expectations. Regardless of that, Thor as a franchise all its own might be in question. Even if it tops $300 million wordwide – this seems expected – the domestic numbers may not be pleasing enough for Paramount and Marvel to order up a Thor 2. In fact, given their track record, is it too late for them to hire Alexander Skarsgard to play Thor in The Avengers? That will never happen, but we are talking about Marvel “Edward Norton Who?” Studios.

Thor also had the lowest Summer opener debut weekend since 2006 when Mission: Impossible III pulled in $47.7 million. Take that bit of information how you will, but Chris Hemsworth hasn’t been seen jumping on any couches recently. Yes, we’re STILL talking about that, Tom.

The two wedding films that served as counter-programming did fine for themselves this weekend. Something Borrowed fell in pretty much in step with expectations, but Jumping the Broom wasn’t even anticipated to break into double digits. It did just that showed up in the #3 spot behind Fast Five. The $6.6-million film has already pulled in more than double its budget, so yay for TriStar. Wait, TriStar? With the Pegasus logo? When did we wormhole back to 1992?

Speaking of Fast Five, the surprisingly positive word of mouth for the movie didn’t keep it from having an unexpected drop this weekend. Nonetheless, it easily came in the #2 spot and pulled its domestic take past the reported $125-million budget. Fast and Furious 6 has already been announced, and these continued numbers along with the $184.8 million it’s made in foreign markets just reiterates Universal’s wise business decisison.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. Thor – $66m NEW
  2. Fast Five – $32.5m (-62.3%) $139.8m total
  3. Jumping the Broom – $13.7m NEW
  4. Something Borrowed – $13.1m NEW
  5. Rio – $8.2m (-44.5%) $114.9m total
  6. Water for Elephants – $5.6m (-40.1%) $41.6m total
  7. Madea’s Big Happy Family – $3.9m (-60.4%) $46.8m total
  8. Prom – $2.4m (-48.5%) $7.8m total
  9. Soul Surfer – $2.1m (-37.6%) $36.6m total
  10. Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil – $1.8m (-54.2%) $6.7m total

And so we kick off the Summer with $149.3 million, not something to be remembered but not exactly an end-of-Hollywood-days slump, either. In fact, as far as recent Summer opening weekends go, it’s actually up, since Fast Five had such a strong second weekend. The Summer movie season generally doesn’t have big movies from April supplementing the huge amount the debuting film brings in.

Next weekend probably won’t be much of a record-breaker, either. With Priest (IN 3-D!!!!!!) and Bridesmaids opening in wide release, Thor’s likelihood of going two and out are pretty good. Bridesmaids might have a chance, especially if Thor‘s second weekend numbers reflect some of the B-team of Marvel’s past. It should be a close one.

We’ll be back on Thursday night to see how the weekend is shaping up.

Jeremy's been writing about movies for a good, 15 years, starting with the film review column of his high school newspaper. He stands proud as the first person in his high school to have seen (and recommend) Pulp Fiction. Jeremy went on to get a B.A. in Cinema and Photography with a minor in journalism. His experience and knowledge of film is aided by the list of 6600 films he has seen in his life (so far). Jeremy's belief is that there are no bad films, just unrealized possibilities. Except Batman and Robin. That shit was awful.

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