The Enderverse isn't going to spawn an "Avengers"-sized franchise anytime soon, but "Ender's Game" still managed to top the domestic box office over the weekend. The sci-fi Young Adult adaptation made $28 million in its domestic debut.
While that figure paled in comparison to YA franchise starters like "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games," it was much stronger than the likes of "The Mortal Instruments," "I Am Number Four" or either of the "Percy Jackson" movies.
Considering the estimated $110 million price tag of "Ender's Game," an adaptation of two different sci-fi classics by Orson Scott Card, Lionsgate/Summit might not go ahead with future installments. Nevertheless, "Ender's Game" did provide sci-fi legend Harrison Ford with his best opening this year, just ahead of the baseball drama "42" and well beyond August's "Paranoia." The decently reviewed flick picked up an additional $9.1 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $37.1 million.
Speaking of the overseas box office, the weekend's international numbers provided a strong forecast for the latest adventure of Marvel's God of Thunder. "Thor: The Dark World" made $109.4 million from roughly 70 percent of the worldwide marketplace, a week ahead of its domestic debut. While that's not "Iron Man 3"-sized business, it is higher than the 2011 original — thanks, no doubt, to a little $1.5 billion success called "The Avengers." The superhero sequel has yet to open in China, Japan, Italy and other important places.
Last week's #1 champ, "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa," slid just one spot to #2 with $20.5 million. It was the strongest second weekend hold for any of the "Jackass" flicks. "Bad Grandpa" has already made close to $80 million around the world, which is fantastic given Paramount's modest production budget of $15 million. Obviously, old man makeup and pranks aren't that expensive.
Ensemble comedy "Last Vegas" opened over the weekend in a bit of counter programming, boasting a cast of stars intended to appeal to an older demographic. But even with Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Michael Douglas in lead roles, "Last Vegas" drummed up just $16.5 million. That figure was just less than a million more than "Free Birds," a Thanksgiving-related kid-friendly cartoon. The poorly reviewed film's opening was roughly a third of director Jimmy Hayward's "Horton Hears a Who!," but mercifully stronger than the entire theatrical run of his first film, DC Comics turkey "Jonah Hex."
The top five was rounded out by mega fall hit "Gravity," which made $13.1 million in its fifth weekend for a domestic total of $219 million ($426 million worldwide). Even with "Thor" gobbling up some of the sci-fi drama's IMAX screens, "Gravity" continues to have nowhere to go but up. Industry experts have predicted anywhere between $500 million and $700 million for its theatrical run.
Likely Best Picture nominee "12 Years a Slave" isn't slowing down, either. Expanding from 123 theaters to 410 over the weekend, the R-rated period drama enjoyed a $11,220-per-screen average as it moved closer to a $9 million total.
Last month, the Hollywood Reporter wrote that "Thor: The Dark World" is on track for a $75 million debut Stateside. "Thor 2" could be runner-up for the November record if it can manage to beat last year's James Bond hit, "Skyfall" ($88.4 million), behind "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," which opened with $142.8 million on November 20, 2009. The first "Thor" movie bowed with $65.7 million. Thor's fellow Avenger, Iron Man, had the biggest movie of 2013: "Iron Man 3" has made more than $1.2 billion.