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Box Office: Thunderous 'Thor' destroys two romantic comedies [Updated]

May 8, 2011 |  9:14 am

Thor "Thor" pounded the competition in theaters this weekend, helping to hammer away the memory of what has so far been a bleak year at the box office.

The second big-budget studio release of the summer grossed a solid $66 million, according to an estimate from distributor Paramount Pictures. The 3-D film about a Norse god destroyed the two other films in wide release this weekend, which were both romantic comedies about marriage. "Jumping the Broom," about two families from different backgrounds converging at a wedding, collected a decent $13.7 million. "Something Borrowed," which had a bigger budget and is based on Emily Giffin's bestselling novel of the same name, had a soft $13.2-million take.

"Fast Five," the fifth installment in the popular series of films featuring high-speed cars, continued to do well. The film grossed an additional $32.5 million this weekend, bringing its current domestic tally to $139.9 million.

Photos: Top 10 films at the box office

After posting the biggest opening weekend for any movie so far this year, the film's ticket sales fell 62% in its second weekend in theaters despite audiences having given it a strong average grade of A, according to market research firm CinemaScore. Still, that's a relatively normal drop for a big action movie -- indeed, the fourth "Fast" film also dropped 62% in its second weekend of release in 2009. Overseas, "Fast Five" expanded from 14 to 44 foreign markets and raked in another $86.6 million. The film's current international total is already near the $200-million mark at $184.8 million.

"Thor" was produced by the Walt Disney Pictures-owned Marvel Entertainment for around $150 million but is being distributed by Paramount Pictures. That means if anyone should really be pleased with the film's start, it's Disney, who will receive the majority of the profits or incur any losses from the movie.

The movie attracted mostly young males, who made up 63% of the audience. Those who saw the film gave it a good average grade of B-plus. A little over half of the movie's business -- 60% -- came from 3-D ticket receipts; 10% of that was from Imax theaters.

Though "Thor's" first weekend wasn't bad, it didn't come close to matching the $98.6 million "Iron Man" brought in when it debuted in 2008. But the well-reviewed film did have a slightly better launch than some other Marvel-owned properties, like 2008's "The Incredible Hulk," which had a $55.4-million opening.

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Heading into the weekend, "Thor" already had opened in 56 foreign markets and grossed more than  $100 million. This weekend, the movie also played in Finland and China and collected an additional $46 million. The film's total abroad now stands slightly below "Fast Five's" at $176 million.

Paulapattonlazalonso "Jumping the Broom," which features a predominantly African American cast, appealed largely to women -- 70% of the audience was female. The film exceeded industry expectations and was received very well by audiences, who gave it an average grade of A.

The movie was financed by Sony's TriStar label for about $7 million and was produced by Our Stories Films, the studio co-founded by the founder of Black Entertainment Television, Robert Johnson. The film was marketed toward a faith-based audience, as one of its producers is Bishop T.D. Jakes. He hosted a number of screenings of the film at religious conferences in the weeks leading up to "Jumping the Broom's" release.

"Something Borrowed was produced and financed by Alcon Entertainment for about $35 million. The movie, which is being distributed by Warner Bros., attracted a 73% female audience, 65% of whom were older than 25, indicating that the crowd likely consisted of those familiar with the popular "chick-lit" book. The movie was given an average grade of B.

Kate Hudson, who stars in the film, is often thought of as one of the romantic-comedy queens of Hollywood. She's starred in a handful of lighthearted films aimed at women, a few of which have been about impending nuptials. But "Something Borrowed's" opening fell well below that of some of her other recent films -- perhaps most comparably 2009's "Bride Wars," which opened to $21.1 million.

[Updated at 10:37 a.m.: "Priest," the Sony Screen Gems film that hits North American theaters next weekend, debuted overseas in four foreign markets. The movie starring Paul Bettany raked in $5.5 million this weekend, performing best in Russia, where it grossed $2.9 million.

Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, with foreign grosses where available, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com:

1. "Thor" (Paramount/Marvel): Opened to $66 million. $46 million in 60 foreign markets. International total: $176 million.

2. "Fast Five" (Universal): $32.5 million in its second weekend, down 62%. Domestic total: $139.9 million. $86.6 million in 58 foreign markets. International total: $184.8 million.

3. "Jumping the Broom" (Sony): Opened to $13.7 million.

4. "Something Borrowed" (Warner Bros./Alcon): Opened to $13.2 million.

5. "Rio" (20th Century Fox): $8.2 million in its fourth weekend, down 45%. Domestic total: $114.9 million. $16.2 million in 67 foreign markets. International total: $292.3 million.

6. "Water for Elephants" (20th Century Fox): $5.6 million in its third weekend, down 40%. Domestic total: $41.6 million. $11.1 million in 45 foreign markets. International total: $21.3 million.

7. "Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family" (Lionsgate): $3.9 million in its third weekend, down 60%. Domestic total: $46.8 million.

8. "Prom" (Disney): $2.4 million in its second weekend, down 49%. Domestic total: $7.8 million.

9. "Soul Surfer" (Sony/FilmDistrict): $2.1 million in its fifth weekend, down 38%. Domestic total: $36.7 million.

10. "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil" (Weinstein Co./Kanbar): $1.8 million in its second weekend, down 54%. Domestic total: $6.7 million.]

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-- Amy Kaufman

Photos, from top: Chris Hemsworth stars as "Thor"; Paula Patton and Laz Alonso in "Jumping the Broom." Credits: Marvel Entertainment; Sony

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