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'Thor' Holds Top Weekend Spot Against Surprise Challenger 'Best Man's Holiday'

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood November 17, 2013 at 1:42PM

Marvel/Disney's "Thor: The Dark World," aided both by upbeat audience reaction and the lack of product in theaters aimed at the young action-movie demo, roared back to Number One in its second weekend. Universal's "The Best Man Holiday" beat it out for top spot on Friday, but fell back to score more than $30 million, even more impressive as it played at some 1,800 fewer theaters than "Thor" ("Best Man"'s per screen average was actually 50% better).
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"Last Vegas"
"Last Vegas"

3. Last Vegas (CBS) Week 3 - Last weekend #4

$8,885,000 (-20%) in 3,237 theaters (+155); PSA: $2,739; Cumulative: $46,958,000

Very strong hold for this comedy, similar to "The Best Man Holiday" playing primarily to older audiences. This jumped over two films that it trailed last week, and now looks certain to surpass "The Woman in Black" as CBS Films' biggest hit to date (that film did $54 million -- this will get much higher).

One of the underlying stories of 2013 has been the number of unexpected comedy successes, at least in terms of performing above expectations. Six of the top 25 grosses of the year have been non-animated comedies, all of them except "The Hangover Part III" exceeding expectations, with "Vegas" and "Bad Grandpa" continuing the trend this fall. With the production costs of these films usually far below many other top grossers, expect the studios to be pushing for more in their upcoming production schedules.

What comes next: "Vegas" has a long way to go, with the holiday ahead likely to keep these grosses at or close to this weekend's level.

4. Free Birds (Relativity) Week 3 - Last weekend #3

$8,300,000 (-25%) in 3,510 theaters (-226); PSA: $2,365; Cumulative: $42,218,000

Once again, it helps to be the most recent animated film around, as Relativity's cartoon original holds well again and has a decent weekend.

What comes next: These grosses guarantee that this will hold most theaters. through the lucrative Thanksgiving period, even though Disney's "Frozen" will replace it as the go-to kids' film in the market.

5. Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa (Paramount) Week 4 - Last weekend #2

$7,670,000 (-32%) in 3,190 theaters (+3); PSA: $2,404; Cumulative: $90,202,000

Continuing to hold far better than anyone anticipated, the latest Jackass variation shows the benefit of adding a plot line to go with the gags that sustained the three previous films. "Jackass 3D" in 2010 had grossed $72 million at this stage (with 3-D surcharges aiding the gross), while this go round will easily top $100 million and even more impressively more than triple its opening weekend, showing a great audience reaction.

What comes next: The success here should guarantee that the franchise will continue for sometime.

6. Gravity (Warner Bros.) Week 7 - Last weekend #6

$6,280,000 (-26%) in 2,560 theaters (-160); PSA: $2,453; Cumulative: $240,556,000

Another very strong hold for what remains the biggest non-summer release of the year so far, and overall #5 for the year.

What comes next: Worldwide is now at the half billion mark, with China and Japan still to open.

7. Ender's Game (Lionsgate) Week 3 - Last weekend #5

$6,200,000 (-40%) in 3,236 theaters (-171); PSA: $1,916; Cumulative: $53,777,000

#7 is not where Lionsgate wanted this to be in its third weekend, with the disappointing run for this $100 million+ budget film falling fast. And their own "Catching Fire" won't help matters next week and beyond.

What comes next: International is rolling out more slowly (only at $9 million so far), and doesn't look likely to help turn this around.

8. 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight) Week 5 - Last weekend #7

$4,700,000 (-30%) in 1,411 theaters (+267); PSA: $3,311; Cumulative: $24,949,000

Already up to an impressive total, this strong awards contender took a bit of a dip this weekend. The gross fell 30% despite adding a number of new theaters, with the PSA dropping over 40%. By comparison, "Precious" at the same point in its run has grossed $36 million despite still being at only 664 theaters at that point. (The earlier film though did open a bit later and benefited from Thanksgiving playtime). It is now Fox Searchlight's biggest film of the year and their best since "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" in summer 2012.

What comes next: This likely won't see as big a screen count again until after the nominations in January, with the weekend gross falling while still playing a core group of theaters in the interim.

9. Captain Phillips (Sony) Week 6 - Last weekend #8

$4,500,000 (-21%) in 2,626 theaters (-20); PSA: $2,626; Cumulative: $97,617,000

Holding in terrifically once again, and doing well in a very crowded market for older-audience appeal films, with foreign now coming along (another $55 million so far). Sony has a significant hit that has a lot more total gross still to come.

What comes next: And star Tom Hanks still has "Saving Mr. Banks" to open next month, making a one-two punch that returns him to the upper level of major actors after falling behind a bit recently.

10. About Time (Universal) Week 3 - Last weekend #9

$3,462,000 (-27%) in 1,280 theaters (+80); PSA: $2,705; Cumulative: $11,568,000

Not a bad hold for this still somewhat limited release, suggesting decent word of mouth and a degree of success for Universal's risky initial smaller first week release.

What comes next: It will be tougher to sustain some of these theaters with big competition over the next couple weeks (not only new films but other stronger current releases), but they should get enough to end up with double or more the current total. International so far has taken in an additional $38 million.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office Top Ten, Box Office, Thompson on Hollywood, Thor: The Dark World


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.