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Marvel-ous ‘Thor’ hammers box office rivals


Marvel superhero Thor hammered his rivals at the North American box office this weekend, estimated figures showed Sunday.

“Thor: The Dark World,” the latest blockbuster based on Marvel’s iconic comic book character, took a hefty $86.1 million in its opening weekend, figures from Exhibitor Relations showed.

Starring Australian heartthrob Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-wielding son of Odin, the movie is a follow-up to the franchise’s 2011 money-spinning first installment, “Thor.”

Although the opening was far less lucrative than other recent superhero movies in the “Iron Man” or “Dark Knight” franchises, analysts say it benefited from the phenomenal success of 2012’s $1.5 billion hit “The Avengers,” which saw Thor join forces with other characters.

“The Avengers was viewed and liked by such a wide audience that its characters’ subsequent solo outings receive a boost in sales,” said analyst Ray Subers on the Box Office Mojo site.

Trailing a distant second was screwball Jackass comedy “Bad Grandpa,” which took $11.3 million in its third week.

Animated comedy “Free Birds” was third with $11.2 million, while “Last Vegas,” starring Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline on a senior’s bachelor party to Sin City, was fourth with $11.1 million.

Last week’s top-spot debutant, the science fiction blockbuster “Ender’s Game” meanwhile tumbled to fifth.

The film, adapted from Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel and starring Harrison Ford, took $10.3 million.

“Gravity” — with Oscar-winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts adrift in space after a devastating accident — was in sixth place with $8.4 million.

The critically acclaimed slavery drama “12 Years a Slave,” regarded as an early contender for Oscars glory, was in seventh with $6.6 million.

Paul Greengrass’s “Captain Phillips,” a thriller starring Tom Hanks as a cargo ship captain captured by Somali pirates, earned $5.8 million. The film is based on the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama.

British romantic comedy “About Time,” starring Domhnall Gleeson as a love-struck time-traveler, was in ninth place with $5.2 million.

Animated sequel “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” rounded out the top 10 with $2.8 million.



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