The “god of thunder” stormed the box office over the weekend as comic book fans and other moviegoers rained $66 million upon theaters to see “Thor.” The latest big-screen adaptation of a beloved Marvel Comics superhero, this one drawn from Norse mythology, kicked off the summer movie season as the #1 movie in America, according to studio estimates.
Alas, a pair of romantic comedies proved to be no match against Thor’s power. “Jumping the Broom” opened at #3 with $13.7 million, while “Something Borrowed,” based on Emily Giffin’s best-selling novel, came in fourth place with $13.1 million. Co-starring rom-com veteran Kate Hudson, “Borrowed” was far behind the $21.1 million her “Bride Wars” took in when it opened in 2009, or the similar numbers generated by “Fool’s Gold” the year before.
“Thor” launches a potential franchise for Disney-owned Marvel Studios and serves as yet another piece of the comic-book-like continuity tapestry leading to 2012′s “The Avengers.” That ambitious movie recently started shooting and will unite Thor with Marvel heroes like Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Captain America (Chris Evans), whose own movie arrives on July 22. “Thor” benefited greatly from the critic-approved charisma of newcomer Chris Hemsworth in the title role and the Shakespearean sensibilities of director Kenneth Branagh. Technology didn’t hurt, either, as roughly 60 percent of the film’s business came courtesy of 3-D.
The opening-weekend numbers for “Thor” weren’t as impressive as the franchise launching “Spider Man,” “Iron Man,” “Hulk” or “X-Men,” but certainly stronger than “Ghost Rider” and “Daredevil.” The movie’s $66 million debut is more than the total gross of any other film Branagh has directed and bodes well for Hemsworth’s future. The Australian actor already has the “Red Dawn” remake in the can, as well as “Cabin in the Woods,” which was co-written by “Avengers” director Joss Whedon.
“Fast Five” was #2 with $32.5 million (for a $139.8 million total), although it beat “Thor” overseas as it expanded into more territories. The movie still boasts the biggest opening of 2011 thus far, and its 62 percent second week drop-off isn’t any different than the last one, “Fast and Furious,” which reunited Vin Diesel and Paul Walker after two sequels spent apart.
The animated “Rio” was #5, with $8.2 million for a $114.9 million total. Meanwhile, the Jodie Foster-directed dark dramedy “The Beaver,” starring Mel Gibson, opened with $104,000, which even in limited release at just 22 locations is a disappointingly low number for all involved.
Next weekend’s new releases include post-apocalyptic vampire flick “Priest,” the Judd Apatow-produced comedy “Bridesmaids,” heavy-metal infused indie “Hesher” and “Everything Must Go,” which stars Will Ferrell in a dramatic role as a relapsing alcoholic whose life is falling apart.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Thor.”