"Thor: The Dark World" was expected to open big and grab the top spot at the box office, and it definitely "hammered" the competition, earning an estimated $86.1 million in its debut weekend. Last weekend's box office king, "Ender's Game," fell flat in its second weekend and dropped to fifth place.
According to many experts, "Thor 2" was expected to get a bump due to the success of "The Avengers" and a lack of competition. The sequel to 2011's "Thor" was not as well-received by critics; "Thor: The Dark World" received a 66 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes compared with 77 percent for the first "Thor," but the big box office earnings could also be due to the increased popularity of its stars, especially Tom Hiddleston, while the Hollywood Reporter notes the movie's appeal to male and female audiences. Females accounted for 21 percent of the audience and couples made up 62 percent of theatergoers. The movie also skewed slightly older, with 61 percent of the audience being over the age of 25, notes THR.
"Thor 2" outperformed the first movie by more than $20 million ("Thor" opened to $65.7 million in 2011), and is on pace to far exceed the the entire gross of the first film. "Thor: The Dark World" has earned $327 million worldwide to date, opening a week earlier overseas, while "Thor" earned $449.3 worldwide in 2011.
Johnny Knoxville's "Bad Grandpa" continued to perform well, remaining in second place after being knocked from the top spot last week by "Ender's Game." "Bad Grandpa" earned an estimated $11.3 million, bringing its domestic total to $78.4 million, with a reported production of $15 million, reports Box Office Mojo. Two movies that opened last weekend, "Free Birds" and "Last Vegas," traded places, the former landing in the third spot while the latter came in fourth place. "Free Birds," which finished fourth last week," earned $11.2 million, while "Last Vegas" earned $11.1 million.
Last week's box office winner, "Ender's Game," fell sharply to fifth place, earning $10.2 million, down 62.1 percent from last week's $27.1 million, reports Box Office Mojo. The success of "12 Years A Slave" continues, nearly tripling the number of theaters, from 410 to 1,144, and earning $6.6 million. The film, directed by Steve McQueen, is an Oscar contender and features a performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor that has the actor being considered a favorite to win an Academy Award.