"Thor" held on to the [article id="1663468"]top spot at the box office[/article] over the weekend while runner-up "Bridesmaids" surpassed industry expectations with an impressive $24.4 million debut, according to studio estimates.
Meanwhile, the new post-apocalyptic vampire film "Priest" floundered and a pair of indie flicks in limited release, "Everything Must Go" and "Hesher," posted up low per-screen averages.
Based on the Marvel Comics hero drawn from Norse mythology, "Thor" earned $34.5 million in its second weekend of release for a total take of $119.2 million. The action flick, starring Chris Hemsworth in the title role, helps set the stage for this summer's "The Avengers." It has earned $225 million worldwide.
Ninety percent of critics loved "Bridesmaids," according to Rotten Tomatoes, and the positive word of mouth generated since the film's South by Southwest festival screenings contributed to its #2 placement. "Saturday Night Live" veterans Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph lead an ensemble cast in the Judd Apatow-produced R-rated comedy, whose drawing power was underestimated by most industry analysts.
"Priest" opened even worse than "Legion," the 2010 fantasy thriller from the same director (Scott Charles Stewart) and featuring the same lead actor (Paul Bettany). "Priest" landed at #4 on the box-office chart after bringing in just $14.5 million.
As for the weekend's other new box-office entries, Will Ferrell's indie drama "Everything Must Go" made just $825,000 after playing in 218 theaters, while "Hesher," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rainn Wilson and Natalie Portman, made $127,000 in 40 theaters.
"Fast Five," by comparison, was in nearly 3,800 theaters. The Vin Diesel-led action heist flick dropped from #2 to #3 on the box-office tally over the weekend, but became the highest-grossing entry in the franchise, earning another $19.5 million for a $168.7 million total. Set in the same city as "Fast Five," "Rio" became the biggest animated movie of 2011 thus far with another $8 million in receipts, passing "Rango" with a $124.9 million domestic total.
In one more bit of noteworthy international news, Natalie Portman's award-winning ballet drama "Black Swan" crossed the $300 million mark worldwide thanks to its recent Japanese opening.
This weekend's new releases include "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," which currently has earned a rotten 50 percent on the Tomatometer since its debut at the Cannes Film Festival; Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" (certified fresh at the moment by Rotten Tomatoes with 79 percent); and "Bloodworth."
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