To nobody's surprise, "Thor: The Dark World" once again topped the charts this weekend with an estimated $38.5 million, pushing its international total to nearly $480 million and scoring its second box office win in as many weeks.
It was a much closer call than many expected, however, thanks to a fantastic debut from Malcolm Lee's long awaited sequel "The Best Man Holiday." Apparently absence does make the heart grow fonder, as the follow-up to the 1999 hit "The Best Man" ended up earning a stellar $30.6 million for a second place finish. That figure looks even more impressive considering the film's meager $17 million price tag.
And with no other major new releases this weekend, everything else at the box office continued to make decent bank almost by default. Returning films like "Last Vegas" ($8.9 million), "Free Birds" ($8.3 million) and "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" ($7.7 million) all reaped the rewards of a light schedule, while Oscar favorites such as "Gravity," "Captain Phillips" and "12 Years a Slave" held on for top ten finishes as well.
Next weekend, of course, Jennifer Lawrence and the gang from "Catching Fire" are expected to obliterate everything. The big question isn't whether the sequel to "The Hunger Games" will finish in first, but rather if it can follow in "Thor: The Dark World's" footsteps and ride a November release to a higher opening than the original. It should be interesting.
For now, though, here's a look at this weekend's box office top ten, courtesy of Hollywood.com:
1. "Thor: The Dark World" - $38.5m (our review)
2. "The Best Man Holiday" - $30.6m (our review)
3. "Last Vegas" - $8.9m (our review)
4. "Free Birds" - $8.3m (our review)
5. "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" - $7.7m
6. "Gravity" - $6.3m (our review)
7. "Ender's Game" - $6.2m (our review)
8. "12 Years a Slave" - $4.7m (our review)
9. "Captain Phillips" - $4.5m (our review)
10. "About Time" - $3.5m (our review)