Weekend Box Office (November 8 - 10, 2013)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Making more money than all other films combined, the super hero sequel Thor: The Dark World descended upon the box office and crushed all rivals delivering the fourth biggest opening weekend of the year. Distributed by Disney, the Marvel tentpole bowed to $85.7M from 3,841 locations, according to final studio figures, for a muscular $22,322 average including higher-priced tickets from 3D and IMAX screens.

Dark World opened 31% mightier than the $65.7M bow of its 2011 predecessor which was slightly better than the jump that the second Iron Man film enjoyed following two years after the first movie from that series. For both Avengers-related franchises, the first chapter tackled the origin story while the sequel saw the hero take on a new mission against a new villain.

The new Thor got the weekend started with a stellar $31.9M on Friday which included $7.1M from Thursday night shows beginning at 8:00pm. For most comic book flicks and sequels it is common for Saturday to dip from a supercharged opening day with earlier Thursday preview shows. A slide of around 10% would be normal since fanboys rush out to the first possible shows. But Dark World actually inched up 1% on Saturday with a remarkable $32.1M - an incredible performance. Disney saw a 32% decline on Sunday to $21.8M helped in part by Monday being Veterans Day, a school holiday.

Only three films opened stronger this year - Iron Man 3 with $174.1M, Man of Steel with $116.6M ($128.7M including Thursday evening group sales) and Fast & Furious 6 with $97.4M. The demographic breakdown of the Dark World audience was almost identical gender-wise to the first Thor's, but there was a noticeable shift towards younger moviegoers this time. Males made up 62% of the crowd while 61% were over 25 for the sequel. Those figures compared to 63% and 72%, respectively, for the 2011 predecessor. And while the first Thor was more of a critic-pleaser, the more humor-filled followup played as more of a crowd-pleaser. Reviews were not as sensational this time around, however the CinemaScore grade from paying audiences was a solid A- compared to the B+ for the first Thor.

With no major competition to face in its second weekend, Thor: The Dark World will be able to bank an impressive two-week gross before The Hunger Games: Catching Fire debuts to what might be record levels. The first Thor went on to gross $181M domestically and $449M worldwide (60% from international) and its sequel should have no problem beating both of those numbers.

Overseas, the new Thor raked in an estimated $94M this weekend from holdover markets that launched last week as well as a few new markets led by China's potent $19.6M Friday-to-Sunday bow. The international total now stands at $240.9M led by Russia's $24.1M, $22.6M from the U.K., China's $19.6M from only three days, Brazil's $15.9M, and Mexico's $15.7M. Thor: The Dark World has grossed a fantastic $327M worldwide in under two weeks and may be on its way across the $700M barrier by the end of its global run.

It was a three-way race for the bridesmaid position as a bunch of holdovers all grossed just over $11M in weekend business. Paramount's hit prank flick Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa edged it out and dropped 43% in its third round (another nice hold for this kind of movie) to $11.3M lifting the cume to a stellar $78.8M. The Johnny Knoxville film cost only $15M to produce.

The animated film Free Birds declined by only 30% in its second weekend thanks to no new competition for young children. The Relativity release banked $11.1M upping the total to $30.1M heading to about $60M. Also holding well was the star-driven comedy Last Vegas with $11M, off just 32%, for $33.5M to date. CBS Films may end in the $60M range too.

As widely expected, the sci-fi film Ender's Game took a beating in its second weekend with the arrival of Thor. Lionsgate suffered a 62% tumble to $10.3M putting the ten-day sum at $44M - disappointing for a pricey effects-driven adventure meant to launch a new franchise. A $60-65M final seems likely.

The space blockbuster Gravity fell from the top five for the first time in its six-week run taking sixth place with $8.5M sliding 33%. The decline was about the same as for the last two frames which was amazing given the huge footprint Thor left this weekend. The Warner Bros. overperformer has now grossed a sensational $231.2M domestically while the international haul rose to $243.3M putting the new worldwide tally at an impressive $474M. Next week's China opening on November 20 is expected to keep things going, especially with the popularity of 3D and IMAX there.

Awards hopeful 12 Years A Slave expanded nationwide after three weeks of successful limited play and landed in seventh for the weekend with $6.7M from 1,144 locations for a good $5,835 average. Fox Searchlight nearly tripled the run this weekend and its total is now $17.4M. Sony's Captain Phillips followed with $5.7M, down 32%, for a $90.9M sum for Sony on its way to the century club.

Universal expanded its sci-fi romance About Time across North America following one week of limited release and saw lackluster results. The Rachel McAdams drama grossed $4.8M from 1,200 sites for a mild $3,965 average. The studio reported an aggressive estimate expecting its core female audience to come out strong on Football Sunday and be helped by Monday's Veteran's Day holiday. However, its slim 7% projected Sunday drop was too optimistic as it was actually 33% when final numbers were tabulated. Universal research showed that About Time skewed 71% female and 56% 40 and older. Cume is $6.3M and reviews were mixed.

Rounding out the top ten was the toon sequel Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 which dropped 33% to $2.8M giving Sony $110M to date.

Below the top ten, Fox platformed its Nazi Germany-set drama The Book Thief in just four theaters and debuted to $105,005 for a strong $26,251 average. With mixed reviews, the PG-13 film will wait until Thanksgiving weekend to go nationwide. Focus found solid results with its second weekend expansion of Matthew McConaughey's Dallas Buyers Club which collected $638,704 from 35 locations for a good $18,249 average. Total is $993,088.

The top ten films grossed $157.9M which was off 1% from last year when Skyfall opened at number one with $88.4M; but up 27% from 2011 when Immortals debuted in the top spot on 11.11.11 with $32.2M.

Compared to projections, Thor: The Dark World opened on target with my $86M forecast.

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Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Best Man Holiday opens.

# Title Nov 8 - 10 Nov 1 - 3 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Thor: The Dark World $ 85,737,841 3,841 1 $ 22,322 $ 85,737,841 Disney
2 Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa 11,326,977 20,010,303 -43.4 3,187 3 3,554 78,773,603 Paramount
3 Free Birds 11,112,063 15,805,237 -29.7 3,736 2 2,974 30,128,514 Relativity
4 Last Vegas 11,036,270 16,334,566 -32.4 3,082 2 3,581 33,467,006 CBS
5 Ender's Game 10,259,188 27,017,351 -62.0 3,407 2 3,011 44,010,488 Lionsgate
6 Gravity 8,535,339 12,825,346 -33.4 2,720 6 3,138 231,249,831 Warner Bros.
7 12 Years A Slave 6,675,731 4,792,214 39.3 1,144 4 5,835 17,421,312 Fox Searchlight
8 Captain Phillips 5,712,028 8,407,725 -32.1 2,646 5 2,159 90,894,044 Sony
9 About Time 4,758,070 1,076,250 342.1 1,200 2 3,965 6,275,743 Universal
10 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 2,776,914 4,150,983 -33.1 1,836 7 1,512 109,953,094 Sony
11 Carrie 1,285,158 3,263,524 -60.6 1,512 4 850 34,050,775 Sony
12 All is Lost 1,130,287 569,838 98.4 399 4 2,833 2,797,888 Roadside Attr.
13 Escape Plan 845,029 2,271,200 -62.8 1,049 4 806 23,207,864 Lionsgate
14 The Counselor 815,757 3,379,850 -75.9 1,022 3 798 15,860,794 Fox
15 Dallas Buyers Club 638,704 260,865 144.8 35 2 18,249 993,088 Focus
16 Enough Said 633,686 1,086,284 -41.7 429 8 1,477 15,839,362 Fox Searchlight
17 Krrish 3 526,989 1,049,560 -49.8 208 2 2,534 1,870,108 Eros
18 Despicable Me 2 474,315 423,340 12.0 310 19 1,530 365,353,620 Universal
19 We're the Millers 272,416 413,159 -34.1 358 14 761 149,681,846 Warner Bros.
20 Blue is the Warmest Color 249,777 224,413 11.3 71 3 3,518 746,428 IFC
Top 5 $ 129,472,339 $ 91,992,803 40.7
Top 10 157,930,421 115,987,099 36.2
Top 20 164,802,539 123,241,562 33.7
Top 20 vs. 2012 164,802,539 169,667,380 -2.9

Last Updated: November 11, 2013 at 10:20PM ET

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