1. Thor: The Dark World (Buena Vista) NEW - Cinemascore - A-; Criticwire: C+; Metacritic: 54
$86,109,000 in 3,841 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $22,418,000; Cumulative: $86,109,000
This Marvel "Thor" sequel is already up to $241 million worldwide (where it opened some territories last week), which puts it less than $30 million below what the initial 2009 entry took in. With domestic just starting and several large territories still to come, this is clearly another hit for the Marvel/Disney combine. Coming after Thor played a prime role in "The Avengers," this clearly seems to be riding on the momentum of that global blockbuster.
But this film also seems to have some unexpected strength of its own. Saturday ended up grossing about the same as the combined two-day Thursday/Friday figure, bigger than what seemed likely. Although this gross didn't reach the $100 million some had expected, it still managed to be the fourth-best of the year, and more impressive, it comes outside a summer or holiday playtime.
At a $170-million budget plus sizable global marketing costs, these numbers are what the film needed to meet. Interestingly, audience surveys (which report a solid A- Cinemascore) indicate that 61% of the audience is over 25 (once again, the 18-24 demo seems to be underperforming). And despite apparent female interest in stars Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, 62% of attendees were male. Comic book hero fans seem to hold on to their interests as they age, which may be a big part of the Marvel (as well as D.C. Comics staples like "Batman" and "Superman") appeal.
Marvel steered this to a more sophisticated feel. Alan Taylor ("Palookaville," "The Emperor's Clothes") has spent most of his career directing high-end cable, mainly for HBO (most recently "Game of Thrones," an Emmy for "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," "Sex and the City," as well as "Mad Men" and many others. Among "Thor"'s credited screenwriters are two Emmy-winners for "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers." Reviews weren't stellar, but audiences continue to connect with the extra attention Marvel producer Kevin Feige ("The Avengers" and all of the "Iron Man" films) gave to this project.