Finally Summertime is here. Time to kick back on a beach, crack open a nice page-turner, soak up some sun, and listen to the ocean. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll spend at least one night every weekend sitting in uncomfortable seats, listening to disrespectful teens gabbing on their cell phones, munching on 8-hour popcorn, and taking in the latest $200-million epic Hollywood tells me is going to be the end all for cinematic extravagance. Now that’s bliss.
First up on the Summer blockbuster slate is the mighty Thor, the next turn in the windy road towards 2012’s The Avengers. It’s not opening alone this weekend. There are a few films being served up for counter-programming, and the Fast and Furious guys are still out there reeking havoc in the streets. But the weekend will be Thor‘s. Let’s take a look at just how much lightning the God of Thunder will be able to catch.
Sure, Thor is the next film from Marvel Studios being released through Paramount. Sure, it’s a $150-million blockbuster that officially kicks open the doors of Summer. That really doesn’t guarantee the movie is going to break any records this weekend. Opening on nearly 4000 screens, it’s a sure-fire bet it will take the #1 spot. But there is a lot working against Thor, too. It’s not the biggest Marvel property out there, more of a B-team superhero in the eyes of some comic geeks. It isn’t like star Chris Hemsworth is going to be packing them in their seats, either. I don’t think he won a slew of fans for his star-making turn in A Perfect Getaway. Director Kenneth Branagh hasn’t had a film open to more than $1 million since 1994’s Frankenstein, and he’s more beloved by theater patrons than comic book fanatics.
However, just the thought of a new Marvel movie being released is sure to get a massive amount of tickets sold. When Iron Man was released in 2008, it wasn’t considered one of the top tier comic properties, either, and it opened to $98.6 million to kick of the Summer that season. Even the Hulk movies settled for opening to $62.1 and $54.4 million in 2003 and 2008, respectively. So how does Thor‘s immediate horizon look? It won’t be anywhere near the size of Iron Man, but its chances of topping either Hulk movie is pretty solid. The idea of The Avengers in the foreseeable future is a definite positive when it comes to Marvel’s properties making bank. When the dust settles on Sunday, Thor will probably be looking at somewhere just over $70 million, a decent haul on top of the $124.9 million it’s already made in foreign markets.
Oh, you’ve seen the trailer for Thor countless times already. Let’s shake it up a bit. Check out this live performance of KISS performing God of Thunder. I don’t like KISS. I won’t watch this, but it’s here for your enjoyment if you choose:
The counter-programming for Thor this weekend involved weddings. There’s a black couple getting married, and a white couple getting married. While I try to remember the punchline to that joke, it doesn’t look good for either of these films. However, Something Borrowed with Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson will probably do much better than Jumping the Broom starring Angela Bassett. Neither of them will even be able to get close to the #2 spot let alone the top of the chart, but a number of brides-to-be might be able to drag their would-be-husbands to one or the other after gazing at Chris Hemsworth for two hours. Lose-lose, guys. Sorry.
And just for some good yuck-yucks, check out the “mawiage” scene from Prince Bride right here. Have you the wing?
Thor is going to be hammering some big dollars out of the Frost Giants’ asses this weekend, but that isn’t going to stop the street racers of Fast Five from pulling in their own payday. Backed by a massive opening last weekend and the generally positive word of mouth it’s been getting, it probably won’t be dropping more than 45% this weekend. Expect Fast Five to easily clamp down on that #2 spot and bring its domestic run to $150 million if not over it. It’s already made $203.4 million worldwide, and the sixth installment in the franchise has already been announced by Justin Lin. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne Johnson are all sitting on cloud 9, and they’re leaving tire tracks. Boom.
A few notable films open in limited release this weekend. First up is The Beaver. I’m not going to sit here and make jokey jokes about Jodie Foster’s The Beaver or about how good and moving it is. I’m 32. I leave the juvenile jokes to Jack Giroux. I will say, though, that you should definitely check out The Beaver if it’s opening in your neck of the woods this weekend. Neil liked it, and that man has taste and class. The Beaver opens in select cities. Get that smirk off your face.
Hobo With a Shotgun also opens in limited release, and you pretty much know right now if you want to see a movie called Hobo With a Shotgun or not. It’s about a hobo. He’s got a shotgun. And he doesn’t mind shooting a whole bunch of people with it. Rutger Hauer stars and Jason Eisener directs. Cole sat down with Eisener on this week’s Reject Radio and talked about some of those things, hobos and Rutger and shotguns and such. Check it out then go see Hobo With a Shotgun. It opens in New York and Austin.
Also opening in limited release are There Be Dragons opening in select cities, The People Vs. George Lucas opening in New York and L.A., Caterpillar opening at the IFC Center in New York City, I’m Not Jesus Mommy opening in Minneapolis, Haunted 3D opening in select cities, The Silent House opening in select cities, Passion Play opening in New York and L.A., Fork Over Knives opening in New York and L.A., and Last Night opening in New York and L.A.
Here’s how the weekend is shaping up:
- Thor – $72.6m NEW
- Fast Five – $48.2m (-44%)
- Something Borrowed – $13.1m NEW
- Rio – $8m (-45.2%)
- Jumping the Broom – $7.4m NEW
- Water for Elephants – $4.7m (-49%)
- Madea’s Big Happy Family – $4.2m (-56.8%)
- Prom – $3.1m (-33.8%)
- Hoodwinked Too! – $2.5m (-38%)
- Soul Surfer – $2.1m (-35.6%)
A pretty good start to what looks to be a money-making Summer for Hollywood. We’re looking at $165.9 million, down a bit from last year’s Summer-opening weekend. Of course, last Summer started with Iron Man 2 and its $128.1 million, a number Thor couldn’t even dream of achieving. Who knows, though? Stranger things have happened. Thor could be up or down from this estimate, and more than one person I’ve spoken to believes Fast Five will take the whole weekend.
We’ll be back on Sunday to go over the weekend numbers.