Weekend Report: 'Thor' Thwacks It Within the Park
by Brandon Gray
May 9, 2011
Thor hammered out $65.7 million at 3,955 locations, handily dominating the weekend. The Marvel Comics adaptation's opening salvo wasn't as thunderous as Fast Five's $86.2 million nor recent summer starters like the Iron Man movies and X-Men Origins: Wolverine ($85.1 million), but it was bigger than Clash of the Titans (2010) ($61.2 million).
That $65.7 million meant Thor had the third highest first-weekend gross yet for the beginning of a Marvel movie franchise after Spider-Man and Iron Man. In terms of estimated attendance, though, Thor's opening weekend ranked below Hulk, X-Men and Fantastic Four but was still ahead of Daredevil and Ghost Rider. Other Marvel movies that fared better on the attendance front included The Incredible Hulk and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Thor's 3D presentations at a record 2,737 locations accounted for 60 percent of business. Distributor Paramount Pictures noted that Thor's start was well above the last 3D event, Tron: Legacy, which debuted to $44 million (though that's not quite apples-to-apples because it was a Christmas release). Also included were 214 IMAX 3D runs that contributed $6.2 million to Thor's gross. Paramount's exit polling indicated that Thor's audience skewed male (63 percent) and age 25 years and older (72 percent).
While Thor was ho-hum as far as summer kick-offs go these days, it was nonetheless solid for a lesser superhero movie, especially one that's all about contributing to a larger movie universe (The Avengers (2012)) as opposed to being a stand-alone property. Not every superhero is destined for box office greatness, and the less down-to-earth ones tend to struggle more than the earthly ones.
Meanwhile, Fast Five slammed on the brakes in its second weekend, grossing $32.4 million. It was down 62 percent, falling about as hard as Fast and Furious. However, Fast and Furious had an Easter advantage in its second weekend, skewing the comparison, and Fast Five lost most of its IMAX runs to Thor, dropping from 244 to 20 (which alone accounted for an estimated $510,000 of the weekend gross). On Saturday, Fast Five shot past Rango to become the top-grossing movie of the year so far, and it boasted a $139.8 million tally through Sunday, compared to Fast and Furious's $116.5 million through the same ten-day point.
The two wedding-tinged comedies, Jumping the Broom and Something Borrowed, debuted in third and fourth, respectively, though Jumping was relatively more impressive, due to its far more modest production and marketing. Something made $13.9 million at 2,904 locations (worse than Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Made of Honor among past early May romantic comedies), while Jumping swept up a nice $15.2 million at 2,035 locations.
Something Borrowed was heavily pushed, but was held back by its bland premise of best friends after the same man, and it lacked a key ingredient to romantic comedy success, a strong male lead, focusing instead on the unsympathetic antics of Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin. Jumping the Broom's success shouldn't be overstated as it was within the average range of its genre, but it benefitted from a fun, clearly-laid-out marketing campaign that married the perennially popular and relatable themes of wedding, culture clash and meet-the-family. Something's audience was 73 percent female and 65 percent 25 years of age and older, according to distributor Warner Bros., while Jumping's audience was 70 percent female and 64 percent 35 years of age and older, according to distributor Sony Pictures. Next weekend, another wedding comedy, Bridesmaids, opens.
Rio rounded out the Top Five with $8.5 million, off 43 percent for a $115.2 million tally in 24 days. In milestone news, Insidious and Source Code each crossed the $50 million mark.
In limited release, The Beaver, starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, flopped with $107,577 at 22 locations, though an expansion is still planned for May 20. The Roland Joffe-directed There Be Dragons was limp as well with $705,537 at 259 locations, but looked better in comparison. Two other movies with high-profile talent posted even lower grosses in their debuts: Last Night, featuring Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington and Eva Mendes, attracted an estimated $32,000 at ten locations, while Passion Play, with Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox and Bill Murray, stirred practically zero interest with around $2,000 at two locations (by comparison, also at two locations, Hobo with a Shotgun opened to $12,046).
• Forecast: Will Lightning Strike for 'Thor' After 'Fast Five?'
• 'Fast Five' Packs Record Heat
This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2010 - 'Iron Man 2' Builds on 'Iron Man' Launch
• 2009 - 'Wolverine' Roars
• 2008 - 'Iron Man' Blasts Off
• 2007 - 'Spider-Man 3' Soars Into Record Books
• 2006 - 'Mission: Impossible III' Doesn't Thrill
• 2005 - 'Kingdom' of Limbo, 'House' of Lax
• 2004 - 'Van Helsing' Stakes Out Solid Summer Start
• 2003 - 'X2' Evolves Past Predecessor
• 2002 - 'Spider-Man' Takes Box Office on Ultimate Spin
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All Time Summer Starts
• All Time Opening Weekends
• Marvel Comics Adaptations
• Superhero Movies