How much difference can a couple of years and the success of a movie called The Avengers make! Ask Thor. In the previous week, we talked much about how the landscape has changed for Thor and fellow Asgardians in the last two years, and how the profiles of Thor and Loki have increased ever since the phenomenal success of The Avengers. The point stands validated again with the recent box-office results that sees Thor: The Dark World bludgeon its way right to the top in North America. On its opening weekend, Thor: The Dark World has raked in a solid $86.1 million in the domestic market which marks an impressive jump over the opening weekend earnings of $65.7 million of 2011’s Thor. That is 31% higher! To draw further comparison, the production budget of Thor: The Dark World is stated at $170 million which is higher than that of Thor ($150 million) by only 13%. Now Thor had a good second weekend hold, dipping only 47%, and that may not be the case with Thor: The Dark World given the higher excitement in the opening week. Nonetheless, the domestic run of Thor had fetched $181 million which Thor: The Dark World should easily eclipse and move north of $200 million in the domestic market itself. The impressive run does not end here itself. Thor, a newbie of sorts in the film world back in 2011, had a decent foreign run, grossing $268 million, which brought its overall worldwide box-office collections to just about $450 million. Now, bring on the sequel. Thor: The Dark World has already raked in $241 million in the foreign markets! That’s after a 10-day run in most of the foreign markets, as the releases in certain territories happened a week prior its release in the USA. These numbers show the massively growing worldwide appeal of the Marvel characters which are bound to reduce the earnings proportion from the USA market for such movies. Thor: The Dark World is on its way to be a resounding success for Marvel and Disney, and there definitely has to be a third movie on the cards, post the sequel to The Avengers.
Time to see where does the mighty God of Thunder lie amongst the superheroes of the year. Well, let’s not even compare him with Iron Man. With no Christian Bale’s Batman around, Iron Man is the undisputed champion among superheroes when it comes to bringing in the audience and making the cash registers go clink-clink. Iron Man 3 had a $174 million opening earlier this year in North America, which is more than double that of Thor: The Dark World. Just to reiterate a previous point, the opening of Iron Man 3 was 36% higher than Iron Man 2, again illustrating the prolonged goodwill of The Avengers. Back to the topic in hand, Thor’s might pales even in front of the Kryptonian as Superman was reborn again in Man of Steel which opened with $117 million. Man of Steel was also carrying the Nolan/Dark Knight goodwill factor which had given it a bright opening. Moving back to the Marvel universe, but a character whose movie rights are no longer with Marvel, The Wolverine had opened with a weaker $53 million and stands at the bottom of this year’s superhero list. (We are not even going to talk of the bunch in Kick-Ass 2). So though Thor rose well for Marvel this weekend, it still has some catching up to do with the big guys!
It was pretty much about Thor: The Dark World at the box-office this weekend, to such an extent in fact that even the combined weekend collections of the next 10 movies falls short of the top earner! Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Free Birds and Last Vegas each have pocketed slightly more than $11 million. It has been particularly impressive from Free Birds and Last Vegas to drop only about 30% in the second weekend. We had written off Free Birds after last weekend, and even now it looks likely to stutter to bring any returns to the studios, but it may not be that big a disappointment we had imagined it to be. On the other side, with quite a modest budget for Last Vegas, the opening weeks have been solid for this veteran-filled movie. The biggest fall that has been felt by any movie with the rise of Thor, has to be Ender’s Game. Last week we had compared its opening with After Earth and Elysium and wondered in which direction would it falter, along with this thought “You just get a bad feeling for Ender’s Game now”; sadly for the makers of the movie, this just came true. The movie dipped 62% on its second weekend and is likely to track closer to After Earth now, pretty much ending the chances for any sequel in the immediate future. Never match yourself against the God of Thunder, eh? Critically acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave and Richard Curtis’ romcom About Time expanded theatres to close to 1,200, and earned $6.6 million and $5.2 million, respectively. Not terrific numbers, but decent nonetheless. 12 Years a Slave is likely to find a mention during the awards show which could trigger a bigger run. About Time has already collected $45 million worldwide which bodes well for this modestly budgeted film (somewhere about $12 million). So that’s the weekend for you. Should be more of Thor even next weekend, before the Girl on Fire finally takes centre stage.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Thor: The Dark World ($86.1 million)
2. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa ($11.3 million; third weekend)
3. Free Birds ($11.2 million; second weekend)
4. Last Vegas ($11.1 million; second weekend)
5. Ender’s Game ($10.3 million; second weekend)