This weekend saw the release of one of the most anticipated films of this holiday season, Marvel's Thor: The Dark World. The sequel to 2011's Thor and 2012's The Avengers was the second step in Marvel's Phase 2, and was expected to do massive grosses thanks to the success of The Avengers. And while Thor: The Dark World may not have lived up to all expectations, it still had a spectacular debut. The film opened with $86.1 million, which is the fifth highest Marvel Studios opening so far, and the highest for a film without Iron Man. Audiences awarded the film an "A-" Cinemascore, which is pretty good. I found the film to be a return to form for Marvel, and a very entertaining film. With no competition next weekend, and strong word of mouth, Thor: The Dark World should be able to finish with around $230 million.
Thor 2's success can be attributed mainly to one thing: the massive success of Marvel's The Avengers. The superhero team-up flick was an absolute sensation last year, and all of the characters got extra publicity for their future solo outings. The so called "Avengers Boost" helped Iron Man 3 gross $174 million on its opening weekend back in May, and has now helped Thor 2 increase its opening weekend gross 31% on the first Thor film.
Beyond Thor: The Dark World, this weekend was pretty desolate at the box office. Second through fourth place was pretty tight and could change when actuals come out, but for now, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa finished in second place. The prank flick which has held exceptionally well over the last few weeks grossed $11.3 million for a total of $78.7 million. That's pretty great for the low budget film that opened with a "B" Cinemascore. Bad Grandpa should hit $100 million by the end of its run. That's impressive for a film with a $15 million budget. Also defying expectations was Relativity Media's Free Birds, which disappointed last weekend, but only dropped 29% for an $11.18 million weekend. That raises the animated film's total to $30.1 million. The film should hold well in the coming weeks, leading up to the opening of Disney's Frozen. Not far behind in fourth place was CBS Films' Last Vegas, a very funny movie, which dropped only 32% for an $11.1 million weekend. Last Vegas has now grossed $33.5 million.
The biggest disappointment of the weekend was Ender's Game. The sci-fi flick, which isn't very good, dropped a whopping 62% this weekend for a $10.2 million weekend. That flat-out kills any chance of a sequel to the film, and certifies it as a loser for Summit and Lionsgate. The film has grossed $44 million thus far. On the other side of the sci-fi spectrum, Gravity continued its impressive run in sixth place with an $8.4 million weekend, which raises its total to $231.1 million. The film should come close to Inception by the end of its run.
In seventh place was Fox Searchlight's 12 Years A Slave, which has the chance to be a legitimate breakout. The stark and brutal drama, which is a major Oscar contender, debuted in 1,144 theaters this weekend and grossed $6.6 million for a total of $17.3 million. Those grosses should only grow as the film builds momentum. Captain Phillips, another major Oscar contender, placed in eighth place this weekend with $5.8 million for a total of $90.8 million. The film should pass $100 million at some point soon.
And finally, About Time and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 rounded out the top ten this weekend. About Time grossed $5.1 million in its nationwide expansion for a total of $6.6 million in ninth place this weekend. And Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 grossed $2.8 million for a total gross of $109.9 million in tenth place.
Next week sees the release of The Best Man Holiday. And that's it. Here are some early predictions:
1. Thor: The Dark World- $48 million
2. The Best Man Holiday- $18 million
3. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa- $7.5 million
4. 12 Years A Slave- $6.9 million
5. Free Birds- $6.8 million
6. Last Vegas- $6.6 million
7. Ender's Game- $5.1 million
8. Captain Phillips- $4.5 million
9. About Time- $3.9 million
10. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2- $1.7 million