Credit: Marvel Studios

Thor requires sustenance! Moviegoers complied, as the god of thunder topped the box office for the second week in a row with $34.5 million, according to studio estimates. On Friday, the $150 million action film dropped a somewhat alarming 64 percent from the prior week, but it then roared back with a mightier-than-expected Saturday. Overall, Thor fell a mild 48 percent for the weekend, holding up better in its second week than such recent Marvel-based films as Iron Man 2 (which declined 59 percent), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (69 percent), and The Incredible Hulk (60 percent), while equaling the original Iron Man‘s drop of 48 percent. However, Thor is going to need a bigger hammer if he thinks he can hold up as well next week when Jack Sparrow comes to town.

The weekend’s other box-office hero was Bridesmaids, which debuted in second with an impressive $24.4 million. The Universal comedy, starring Saturday Night Live‘s Kristen Wiig in her largest movie role yet, benefited from top-notch reviews and gave producer Judd Apatow his best opening since 2008’s Step Brothers. With women representing 67 percent of the audience, Bridesmaids also proved that there’s a market for a raunchy R-rated comedy featuring a female ensemble. Audiences generally liked the movie, with CinemaScore graders handing it a “B+” rating. Of particular note: Six percent of the graders listed “male actor in lead role” as their reason for attending the movie. There is no lead male actor in Bridesmaids, but judging by the “A” rating this audience segment gave the film, we can assume they meant Jon Hamm’s steamy supporting role.

The week’s other new release, the 3-D horror action film Priest, opened in fourth to a merely okay $14.5 million. The $60 million movie, released by Sony’s Screen Gems label and starring Paul Bettany, brought in a crowd that was 57 percent male. Critics gave Priest unholy reviews, as did CinemaScore audiences, who stamped the PG-13 movie with a “C+” grade. Performing better than Priest was the holdover Fast Five, which skidded 40 percent for $19.5 million. With $168.8 million in the bank, the action movie passed 2009’s Fast and Furious to become the street-racing franchise’s top grosser. And in fifth place, the animated adventure Rio slipped just 6 percent for $8 million, bringing its cumulative total to $125 million.

In limited release, the Will Ferrell dramedy Everything Must Go debuted to a decent $825,000 from 218 theaters. The drama Hesher, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Natalie Portman (in her fifth movie this year), flopped with $127,000 from 40 locations. And special recognition goes out to the dance flick Go for It!, which opened to $110,000 from 218 theaters. With a per-theater average of $505, my back-of-the-envelope calculation says an average of four people attended each showing of the movie.

Check back next week as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides invades more than 4,000 theaters, and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris unspools in Los Angeles and New York.

1. Thor — $34.5 mil

2. Bridesmaids — $24.4 mil

3. Fast Five — $19.5 mil

4. Priest — $14.5 mil

5. Rio — $8.0 mil

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