For the second weekend in a row, Marvel’s $170 million sequel Thor: The Dark World topped the domestic box office chart. The Chris Hemsworth vehicle fell 55 percent to $38.5 million, giving the comic book adaptation $147 million total so far. The Dark World is still on track to easily surpass the original Thor‘s $181 million domestic total in 2011, and it should finish above $200 million.
Internationally, the sequel has already earned more than its predecessor. The Dark World has grossed $332.8 million internationally and $479.8 million worldwide, far more than Thor’s $268 million and $449 million respective finishes. At this point, The Dark World seems headed for a finish above $700 million worldwide.
Thor wasn’t the only success story this weekend. The Best Man Holiday unwrapped an outstanding $30.5 million on opening weekend from 2,024 theaters, yielding an excellent $15,115 venue average — the best in the top-10. The film, which stars Terrence Howard, Taye Diggs, and Regina Hall (among others), opened with $10.7 million on Friday, and then ticked up 15 percent on Saturday to $12 million — a rare boost on a film’s opening weekend that signifies great word-of-mouth. Audiences, which Universal reports were 75 percent female and 87 percent African-American, issued the film a rare “A+” CinemaScore grade.
Holiday‘s predecessor, the 1999 comedy The Best Man, which was also written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee, grossed $9 million on its opening weekend en route to a $34 million total. Given how handily The Best Man Holiday beat that film’s opening weekend, and given its slim $17 million budget, Universal likely won’t wait 14 years before releasing another sequel.
Third place belonged to CBS Films’ Last Vegas, which continued to demonstrate great staying power and older-audience appeal in its third weekend. The Vegas adventure, which stars Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Robert DeNiro, didn’t hit the jackpot in its opening weekend, but teensy drops are turning it into a substantial hit. The film fell just 25 percent to $8.9 million this weekend, good for a $47 million running total against a $28 million budget. Last Vegas is set to become CBS Films’ highest-grossing film ever ahead of last year’s Daniel Radcliffe spookfest The Woman In Black, which earned $54.3 million.
Thanksgiving-themed comedy Free Birds held up in fourth place with $8.3 million, marking a scant 25 percent drop from last weekend, a sensible dip as the holiday approaches. While the film’s week-to-week hold is encouraging, its numbers were unfortunately quite low to begin with. After three frames, Relativity’s $55 million animation has earned just $42.2 million — and that’s without any family competition.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa rounded out the Top 5, falling by only 32 percent to $7.7 million. Paramount’s $15 million prank film has become one of the runaway smashes of the fall season, and — unlike the other Jackass films — proved an enduring success, rather than a fast burn at the box office. The film has earned $90.2 million so far, and it’s poised to pass the $100 million mark in the coming weeks.
1. Thor: The Dark World – $38.5million
2. The Best Man Holiday – $30.6 million
3. Last Vegas – $8.9 million
4. Free Birds – $8.3 million
5. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – $7.7 million
In limited release, Oscar contender Dallas Buyers Club expanded nicely from 35 to 184 theaters, pulling in $1.8 million this weekend — about $9,701 per theater. Focus Features will continue expanding the film, which has earned $3 million so far, in the coming weeks. New opener Nebraska also fared well in its opening weekend. The Alexander Payne film, which stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte, pulled in $140,000 from only four theaters.
Next week brings the arrival of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and guess what? It’s going to make a lot of money. How much? Stay tuned to EW to find out.