On opening day, Thor hammered out $25.7 million at 3,955 venues, besting the first days of such Marvel summer launches as 2003’s The Hulk ($24.3 million) and 2005’s Fantastic Four ($21.3 million). ($3.25 million of Thor’s Friday take was minted at 1,800 midnight showings.) By weekend's end, Thor had wrangled a three-day total of $66 million for Paramount and producer/financer Marvel; a figure that neither company has to blush about considering that’s the average bow for a Marvel superhero flick adaptation. Paramount also crowed about the picture's foreign grosses of $46 million for a total of $176 million outside North America. In eleven days the film has outperformed the final totals for the first X-Men, Fantastic Four and Hulk.
Though Thor isn’t a wimp, he couldn’t lift as much as his super-brethren Spider-Man ($39.4 million), Iron Man ($35.2 million) and Wolverine ($34.4 million), who charted higher opening days. What gives? Was 3-D an unreliable steroid when it came to boosting grosses? 60% of Thor’s receipts Friday or $15.4 million came from 2,737 3-D venues and an additional 214 IMAX. That’s a hearty share considering that it’s higher than the 56% Avatar pulled in on its opening weekend ($43 million of its $77 million came from 3-D) and lower than Tron’s 82% ($36 million of its $44 million).
But could Thor have fared better at the B.O. completely in 2-D? The jury of distribution executives think it could. If exhibitors are irate over premium VOD, distribution suits are equally ticked off about overpriced movie tickets, particularly 3-D, in the post Avatar age. “We have no control over ticket prices,” is the often heard, annoyed response from a distribution executive on the subject of burgeoning ticket inflation.
A better form of Viagra for Thor in the long run is its buzz: Critics praised the Norse god with 79% fresh while the overall audience gave it a B+, with 28% under 25 grading it an A-.
Paramount, which took an 8% distribution fee to handle the $150 million Marvel production (it looks far more expensive), employed its effective, routine maneuvers in promoting Thor to fans and non-fans: Comic-con panel, early December trailer, a second official trailer during Super Bowl, etc. If you didn’t know who Thor was, you certainly did by the end of their marketing campaign. It’s questionable whether a star in Thor‘s cape, versus fresh face Chris Hemsworth, would have boosted grosses more. Typically, Marvel adaptations have been launched with either unknowns (i.e. Eric Bana in Hulk and a majority of the X-men posse) or non-marquee talent: Iron Man morphed Robert Downey Jr. from gifted second-tier thespian to a $15-million payday.
Women who failed to respond to Thor’s abs could be found in houses playing Warner Bros.’ Something Borrowed, adapted from Emily Griffin's chick lit tome. Starting out on Friday in third place, the film fell to fourth (behind TriStar's African-American relationship comedy Jumping the Broom), racking up $13.2 million, in sync with the studio’s estimates. Alcon Entertaiment financed the film for $35 million. Friday attendees were 73% women, 75% of which were under 50. Cinemascore was a B, A- for the under-18 crowd.
Something Borrowed demonstrates that Hudson is in further need of a makeover (she tried with The Killer Inside Me and Nine), having run the romantic comedy genre ragged. Her character in Something Borrowed is less than attractive; she plays second fiddle to best gal pal Ginnifer Goodwin. In her heyday in 2003 Hudson opened How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with $23.8 million; her latest high was January 2009’s Bride Wars with $21.1 million.
Jumping the Broom scored $13.7 million in third place. It might look like another Tyler Perry knock-off, but make no mistake, Sony is laughing all the way to the bank: The film was made for $7 million and it looks to make close to double its budget back this weekend. Audiences love it with an A Cinemascore. The poster effectively sold the film’s concept about two families, one upper and the other lower class, whose lives coincide.
Elsewhere among limited fare, Summit Entertainment’s $21 million foreign-financed Mel Gibson drama-edy The Beaver bit into $104,000 at 22 sites yesterday for a weak per theater average of $4,745. Jodie Foster set out to direct a classic European relationship drama that may have needed raves--as opposed to a solid 70% on Rotten Tomatoes-- to drive the art-house crowd--not Gibson's target demo. The movie broadens May 20 after its overseas debut at Cannes. More indie numbers are at indieWIRE.
Here's the Top Ten Chart:
1. Thor (Paramount) $66 million in its first weekend at 3,955 theaters. $16,688 theater average. Domestic total: $66 million.
2. Fast Five (Universal) $32.5 million down 62% in its second weekend at 3,662 theaters. $8880 theater average. Domestic total: $139.9 million.
3. Jumping the Broom (TriStar) $13.7 million in its first weekend at 2,035 theaters. $6732 theater average. Domestic total: $13.7 million.
4. Something Borrowed (Warner Bros.) $13.2 million in its first weekend at 2,904 theaters. $4530 theater average. Domestic total: $13.2 million.
5. Rio (Fox) $8.2 million down 45% in its fourth weekend at 3,258 theaters. $2517 theater average. Domestic total: $114.9 million.
6. Water for Elephants (Fox) $5.6 million down 40.4% in its third weekend at 2,614 theaters. $2142 theater average. Domestic total: $41.6 million.
7. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family (Lionsgate) $3.9 million down 60% in its third weekend at 1,881 theaters. $2075 theater average. Domestic total: $46.8 million.
8. Prom (Disney) $2.4 million down 48.5% in its second weekend at 2,730 theaters. $888 theater average. Domestic total: $7.8 million.
9. Soul Surfer (Tri-Star) $2.1 million down 38% in its fifth weekend at 1781 theaters. $1,179 theater average. Domestic total: $36.7 million.
10. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (Weinstein Co.) $1.8 million down 64% in its second weekend at 2,606 theaters. $760 theater average. Domestic total: 5.9 million.
Thor, Paramount | Dir: Kenneth Branagh, Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings | 79% Tomatometer | 58% Metacritic | Will Thor Be the Latest Jewel In Marvel Crown? | TOH! Review Round-up.
The Beaver, Summit | Dir: Jodie Foster, Cast: Mel Gibson, Cherry Jones, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Riley Thomas Stewart, Zachary Booth | 70% Tomatometer | 59% Metacritic | B- criticWIRE | TOH! Interviews Foster | Women and Hollywood | Caryn James.