As predicted, Thor: The Dark World ruled the multiplexes this weekend. The latest Marvel action (with a hefty dose of comedy) flick earned $86 million at the domestic box office and $180 million worldwide. It looks as if the lauded sequel will soon out-gross its predecessor: By the end of summer 2011, Thor had earned a successful $450 million worldwide, while The Dark World has already amassed a stellar $327 million after only two weeks. Many are crediting Thor’s appearance in 2012’s The Avengers with increasing interest in his character. The “Avengers Effect” was certainly in play for Iron Man 3, which saw a significant boost in sales over Iron Man 2 (36%) after it opened post-Avengers. Not everyone is thrilled with what is undoubtedly a blockbuster debut, however. 3D attendance was down from the first Thor, and 3D sales made up just 39% of The Dark World’s overall gross, falling short of Gravity-influenced expectations. But that’s splitting hairs on a well-coiffed head. Lacking as it does any significant competition, Thor is expected to hold onto its title for some time.
Unfortunately for everyone else, standing next to a Norse god is bound to dwarf you. This weekend’s No. 2, Bad Grandpa, earned just $11.3 million, down 44% from last weekend. The good news? Even with the inevitable dropoff, Grandpa is the second highest-grossing Jackass film of all time, on track to earn well over $100 million.
Third and fourth place just missed out-grossing Grandpa. Free Birds and Last Vegas earned $11.2 and $11.1 million, respectively. Their overall cumes are equally waddle-neck-in-neck: Audiences have more or less ignored the critics and helped Free Birds earn $30.2 million and Last Vegas $33.5 million to date.
Dropping faster than an intergalactic deity to Earth, Ender’s Game suffered a sales dip of 62% to earn $10.3 million. That brings the film’s total up to $44 million, which, considering its advance hype, production costs and this weekend’s steep sophomore dropoff, qualifies it as a bomb. Expect the film to hang around for another week or two, but once Katniss and co. stage their multiplex takeover come November 22 for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Ender’s Game will be all but over.
Not so with Steve McQueen’s everyone-loves-it 12 Years A Slave. After expanding wide to 1,144 locations, Slave earned $6.6 million to bump its total earnings up to $17.3 million. The rollout, and profits, will continue this coming weekend when the film screens at roughly 1,300 theatres.
Finally, with the weekend’s smallest opening, The Book Thief earned a solid $108,000 from four locations. The film, though, isn’t tracking too hot on Rotten Tomatoes – 59% rotten – and Fox has yet to announce further expansion plans.