The mighty super hero sequel Thor: The Dark World ruled the box office for a second time while the comedy sequel The Best Man Holiday debuted to sensational results in second place while playing in about half as many theaters. With only one new wide release entering the marketplace, most holdovers enjoyed low declines during the calm before the Katniss storm.
Holding the top spot for a second weekend in a row, Thor dropped a reasonable 55% to an estimated $38.5M pushing its cume to $147M after ten-plus days of release. It was a fairly good decline for this type of film considering the first Thor fell 47% in its sophomore session and that the sequel’s first frame included extra grosses from its Thursday night shows before opening day. Dark World fared slightly better than fellow Marvel sequel Iron Man 2 which dropped 59% in May 2010 as well as Captain America: The First Avenger which tumbled 61% in July 2011.
Instead the hold was much more like last November’s Bond sequel Skyfall which declined by 54% this very same weekend. With good buzz and the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday coming up, the new Thor may find its way to a finish in the $250M range which would be an impressive 38% improvement on the $181M of its predecessor.
Overseas, the son of Odin continued to collect hefty numbers with an estimated $52.5M making for a global weekend gross of $91M. Led by China’s $41.8M in just ten days, the international cume is now $332.8M which is already 24% better than the final overseas tally on the first Thor. Worldwide sits at $479.8M with the half-century mark set to be smashed in the coming days on its way to the vicinity of a wonderful $750M or so.
Opening to fantastic numbers in the runner-up spot was The Best Man Holiday with an estimated $30.6M from 2,024 locations for a scorching $15,115 per-theater average. The three-day tally almost reached the total gross of its 1999 predecessor The Best Man which took in $34.1M in the fall of that year after opening at number one with $9M.
Fans were still interested in Harper Stewart and his pals and the new installment brought back the whole cast from the first film including Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Nia Long, and Regina Hall who have all increased their starpower over the last 14 years. Reviews were mixed but generally upbeat – more than good enough for a comedy sequel with a built-in audience.
Holiday was the fifth R-rated comedy of the year to open over $30M and became that rare film to earn A+ CinemaScore grades across all four quadrants. Recent movies that have scored an A+ include all-time opening weekend champ The Avengers, Oscar king Argo, and last spring’s uplifting baseball drama 42.
Filled with both laughs and cries, the new Best Man’s success was powered by African-American women. Studio research showed that the crowd was 75% female, 87% black, and 63% 35 and older.
Though a spectacular opening, it wasn’t groundbreaking as numerous films with predominantly African-American casts have scored muscular debuts with powerful averages. The recent all-star comedy Think Like a Man bowed to $33.6M on its way to a $91.5M final while ensemble sequel Barbershop 2 debuted to $24.2M leading to a $65.1M final. Plus Tyler Perry, who has utterly dominated the market for comedies aimed at black adults, has opened five films to over $25M a piece.
Produced for only $17M, The Best Man Holiday should be able to end its run with a minimum of $75M – more than four times its cost – and it would not be surprising if the cast is reassembled in the near future for another chapter.
With impressive staying power, the geezer comedy Last Vegas finished in third place in its third weekend with an estimated $8.9M sliding a mere 20%. CBS Films has banked $47M to date and should continue to attract solid sales at least through Thanksgiving weekend.
More funny flicks with legs followed. The animated film Free Birds eased 25% to an estimated $8.3M putting Relativity’s total at $42.2M. Paramount’s spinoff hit Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa grossed an estimated $7.7M, off just 32%, for a $90.2M cume.
Fall smash Gravity eased by only 26% to an estimated $6.3M boosting the remarkable domestic sum to $240.6M. Ender’s Game, a space flick not doing as well, followed with an estimated $6.2M falling 40% in the process. Cume to date is $53.8M for the pricey sci-fi film.
12 Years A Slave dropped 30% to an estimated $4.7M and upped its sum to $24.9M for Fox Searchlight. Sony’s Captain Phillips slipped only 21% to an estimated $4.5M for $97.6M to date. Rounding out the top ten was the disappointing romance About Time with an estimated $3.5M, down 26%, and a weak $11.6M total.
In platform release, Alexander Payne’s new film Nebraska enjoyed a nice start with an estimated $140,000 from only four sites for a potent $35,000 average. The well-reviewed film from Paramount expands to the top ten markets next weekend.
Among films that expanded, Matthew McConaughey’s Dallas Buyers Club went from 35 to 184 locations and grossed an estimated $1.8M for a promising $9,701 average. Fox’s The Book Thief widened from 4 to 29 sites and collected an estimated $425,000 for a solid $14,655 average. It goes nationwide over the long turkey frame.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $119.1M which was down 51% from last year when tentpole The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 opened at number one with $141.1M; and down 44% from 2011 when Breaking Dawn Part 1 debuted in the top spot with $138.1M.