Directed by Alan Taylor and starring Chris Hemsworth, Thor 2 — officially Thor: The Dark World — debuted in the U.S. and Canada on Friday, November 7, 2013, collecting an estimated $31.63 million from 3,841 sites, according to figures found at Box Office Mojo. That amount includes an estimated $7.1 million from Thursday evening and Friday midnight shows. Note: More than 3,100 North American theaters are showing Thor 2 in 3D.
Needless to say, Thor: The Dark World, which also features Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins, will far surpass its predecessor at the domestic box office. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, Thor 2011 debuted with $65.72 million.
Due to the mammoth success of Joss Whedon's The Avengers, which featured Thor alongside The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), early predictions had Thor 2 opening with $90-$95 million at the domestic box office — or about 35 percent above Thor 2011's opening weekend. However, The Avengers box office bump or no, Thor: The Dark World will likely gross closer to $83-85 million by Sunday evening. (Sunday update: Thor: The Dark World opened with an estimated $86.1 million in North America.)
Official weekend box office estimates will be released on Sunday morning. Weekend box office actuals come out on Monday.
Thor vs. Iron Man, Superman, Spider-Man, Batman
Theory: Thor's domestic box office problem is the lack of the qualifier "man" — that's why Thor 2 has no chance of reaching the North American box office heights of fellow superheroes Iron Man, Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman.
Data: Directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man 2008 — not a sequel and lacking 3D surcharges — debuted with $98.61 million (approximately $110 million today) in early May 2011. Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill, the Superman reboot Man of Steel opened with $116.61 million earlier this year.
True, the Marc Webb-directed reboot The Amazing Spider-Man, starring Andrew Garfield, opened with a relatively modest $62 million in July 2012, but Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, with Tobey Maguire in the title role, opened with $114.84 million in May 2002 (approximately $159 million today). True, Christopher Nolan's 3D-less Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale as the beginner, brought in a relatively modest $48.74 million (about $61 million today) in July 2005. But its equally 3D-less sequel opened with $158.41 million in July 2008 (about $177 million today). And let's not forget Tim Burton's Batman, starring Michael Keaton, which opened with $40.48 million in June 2009 (about $82 million today).
Conclusion: Thor should be rebaptized Hammer Man. Then watch the God of Thunder's domestic box office soar all the way to Valhalla.
'Thor: 2': The international market is sequel's raison d'être
Thor 2 cost a reported $170 million. It has no chance of recovering its budget — let alone its additional marketing and distribution costs (probably around $90 to $100 million) — at the North American box office. But distributor Disney shouldn't be concerned.
Even without the 3D fanatic and superhero fanatic and cash-rich Chinese market, Thor: The Dark World has already passed the $150 million milestone internationally. Until Friday, after only nine days, the film's cume was $152.8 million.
Thor 2011 reached $181.03 million in the U.S. and Canada, and $268.29 million internationally. Thor 2 will easily surpass both figures, possibly reaching about $230-250 million domestically and $400-450 million internationally.
'Thor 2' cast
Besides Chris Hemsworth in the title role, Best Actress Academy Award winner Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Best Actor Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs), and Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Thor: The Dark World features Zachary Levi, Jamie Alexander, Christopher Eccleston, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Tadanobu Asano, Stellan Skarsgård, Rene Russo, Kat Dennings, Clive Russell, Alice Krige, Jonathan Howard, and Chris O'Dowd, in addition to cameos by Captain America: The Winter Soldier's Chris Evans and Benicio Del Toro.
The Thor 2 screenplay is credited to Christopher Yost, and Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Thor: The Dark World's "story" is credited to Don Payne and Robert Rodat.
Next in line for Thor 2 director Alan Taylor is a remake of James Cameron's The Terminator: now simply titled Terminator.
Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor 2 photo: Marvel / Walt Disney Studios.