Disney's Thor: The Dark World continued its box-office reign with $38.5 million in its second week of release, according to studio estimates on Sunday. Opening 15 years after the original The Best Man, Universal's The Best Man Holiday opened strongly with $30.6 million.
Drawing an overwhelmingly female and African-American audience, The Best Man Holiday was a surprise challenger for the mighty Thor. The R-rated romantic comedy, with an ensemble cast including Morris Chestnut and Taye Diggs, debuted with more than three times the box office of 1999's The Best Man. That film opened with $9 million.
The performance of director Malcolm D. Lee's The Best Man Holiday continued an ongoing trend. Movies that appeal particularly to black audiences have often been surpassing expectations at the box office. "It's a familiar refrain, and it's getting a little tired," said Lee. "I thought we had a chance to do something special."
Lee Daniels' The Butler led the box office for several weeks in August, leading to a cumulative total of $115.5 million domestically. The Oscar-contender 12 Years a Slave has made $25 million in five weeks of limited release. RASHID IRANI'S REVIEW
Lee said that while black audiences "see everything" at the movies, from action movies to romantic comedies, he hopes broader audiences begin responding to so-called "black films." The audience for Best Man Holiday was 87 percent African-American.
Regardless, a third Best Man film now seems a likely bet. "If there is going to be a sequel, it won't take 14 years," granted Lee.
Marvel's Norse superhero, however, has been hammering audiences around the globe. Thor: The Dark World
made $52.5 million internationally over the weekend, bringing its worldwide total to $479.8 million. With Chris Hemsworth
as the title character and Tom Hiddleston as the popular villain Loki, the Thor franchise has proven to be one of Marvel's most successful.
Just as Thor
approached the half-billion mark, Warner Bros.' space adventure Gravity crossed it in its seventh week of release. The Best Man Holiday was the only new wide-release opening over the weekend, as the marketplace clears out for the release of Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
In limited release, Alexander Payne's black-and-white Midwest road trip Nebraska opened in four locations with a strong $35,000 per theater average for Paramount Pictures. Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street was originally slated to open, but was postponed to December 25 by Paramount.
Expected to be one of the year's biggest debuts, Lionsgate's Catching Fire will abruptly close the box-office window for Thor next weekend. Catching Fire opened in Brazil over the weekend, earning $6.3 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.
1. Thor: The Dark World, $38.5 million ($52.5 million international).
2. The Best Man Holiday, $30.6 million.
3. Last Vegas, $8.9 million ($3.5 million international).
4. Free Birds, $8.3 million ($1.2 million international).
5. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, $7.7 million ($5.5 million international).
6. Gravity, $6.3 million ($18.5 million).
7. Ender's Game, $6.2 million ($2.2 million international).
8. 12 Years a Slave, $4.7 million.
9. Captain Phillips, $4.5 million ($8.4 million international).
10. About Time, $3.5 million ($1.9 million international).