Thor sequel hammers US box office
Superheroes continue to defeat their foes at the US box office, with Disney's Thor: The Dark World earning 86.1 million dollars (£53.8m) and dominating the weekend box office as it opened domestically at No 1, according to studio estimates.
The Marvel superhero sequel s tarring Chris Hemsworth earned 109.4 million dollars (£68.3m) when it opened internationally last weekend and 94 million (£58.7m) internationally this weekend.
"It's an extraordinary thing," said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution at Walt Disney Studios. "These guys at Marvel have been some of the most consistent when it comes to making movies and creating big events that drive a ton of people to the movie theatre. They overdelivered on expectations."
But some observers were expecting the weekend total to reach more than 100 million dollars (£62.5m).
In limited cinemas on Thursday evening, Thor: The Dark World brought in 7.1 million dollars (£4.3m) overnight.
Surpassing the ticket sales of Thor, which scored 65.7 million dollars (£41m) when it opened in May 2011, The Dark World marks a record for a Disney November opening, topping the 70.5 million dollars (£44m) The Incredibles earned in 2004.
But, come November 22, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is predicted to take the No 1 spot.
"We have a great little stretch of time prior to Hunger Games," Mr Hollis said. "Yes, Hunger Games will do a whole bunch of business, but that's not to say we don't expect to still be a relevant option for consumers that weekend and on to the Thanksgiving weekend that follows."
Paramount's hidden-camera comedy Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa held the second-place slot at the box office for the second weekend in a row, earning 11.3 million dollars (£7m) during its third weekend, with a domestic total reaching more than 78 million (£48.7m). "Audiences can't get enough of these films," said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak. "They are like that guilty pleasure. It's completely unique compared to everything else out there."
Relativity Media's 3D animated kiddie flick Free Birds, soared into third place with 11.2 million dollars (£7m) in its second weekend. CBS Films' Last Vegas, featuring an all-star cast including Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline, took fourth place in its second weekend.