Lightning struck twice for 'Thor,' which remained on top of the box office chart for a second weekend even as two new wide releases tried to steal its thunder. Still, the testosterone-heavy flick suffered a steep drop from last week's business, while the female ensemble comedy 'Bridesmaids' scored an impressive debut that exceeded expectations.
The Norse god grabbed another $34.5 million this weekend, according to studio estimates. That's enough for a 10-day total of $119.3 million. Still, it represents a 48 percent plunge from last week's $65.7 million opening. Such drastic drop-offs are common for spring and summer action blockbusters entering their second week. Actually, 'Thor's' drop is less severe than those of 2009's 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' (69 percent), last year's 'Clash of the Titans' (57 percent), or last week's 'Fast Five,' (63 percent). But then, 'Thor' has enjoyed generally good reviews and word-of-mouth.
'Bridesmaids' was widely expected to open at $20 million or below, since studios aren't good at marketing female-fronted comedies (that title was expected to be a turnoff for guys). It was also competing against two wedding-themed films that opened last week, 'Jumping the Broom' and 'Something Borrowed.' But this one was well-marketed (it played up the role of bromance producer Judd Apatow and the film's gross-out humor at least as much as it did star/co-writer Kristen Wiig) and got excellent reviews and word of mouth. Also, 'Broom' and 'Borrowed' didn't have strong legs (both lost at least half of last week's business and fell out of the top five). As a result, 'Bridesmaids' was able to ring up an impressive $24.4 million, according to estimates, opening at No. 2. And that was with an audience that was predominantly female and over 30, according to studio polling. Critics have been saying for years that this is an untapped audience the marketplace often ignores; now they have some proof.
'Fast Five' fell to third place this weekend with an estimated $19.5 million, down 40 percent from last week's already steep spill, even though it actually added 131 screens this week. Still, the movie has driven off with $168.7 million over three weekends in North America and another $271 million overseas. In other words, start gassing up for 'Fast Six.'
'Priest' debuted with a disappointing $14.5 million, according to estimates, and that's with 3D surcharges included. The previous theological horror thriller from star Paul Bettany and director Scott Stewart, 2010's 'Legion,' opened with $17.5 million. But that was in January, while 'Priest' vied with early-summer blockbusters 'Thor' and 'Fast Five' for the young-male genre audience.
Rounding out the top five was 'Rio,' which is still playing in nearly 3,000 theaters after five weeks. Still the top choice among family films, 'Rio' added another $8.0 million to its nest, according to estimates (down a tiny 6 percent from a week ago), for a total to date of $125.0 million.
The full top 10:
1. 'Thor,' $34.5 million (3,963 screens), $119.3 million total
2. 'Bridesmaids,' $24.4 million (2,918), new release
3. 'Fast Five,' $19.5 million (3,793, $168.7 million
4. 'Priest,' $14.5 million (2,864), new release
5. 'Rio,' $8.0 million (2,929), $125.0 million
6. 'Jumping the Broom,' $7.3 million (2,035), $26.0 million
7. 'Something Borrowed,' $7.0 million (2,904), $25.6 million
8. 'Water for Elephants,' $4.1 million (2,425), $48.5 million
9. 'Soul Surfer,' $1.8 million (1,468), $39.2 million
10. 'Hoowinked Too! Hood vs. Evil,' $1.0 million (1,276), $8.4 million
Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.