"Thor" Hammers the Box Office

Signaling the start of the summer movie season with a bolt of lightning, "Thor," from Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures opened in the US to the tune of $66 million over its opening weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film, starring Chris Hemsworth as the title character, Tom Hiddleston as the scheming Loki and Anthony Hopkins as Odin was something of a risk for the partnership between the veteran studio and the superhero film factory. The movie features a fresh face in Hemsworth and an unproven character in Thor. According to the THR article, Paramount always expected the film to open "better than 'X-Men' and 'Fantastic Four,' which debuted to roughly $56 million domestically, but not reach the heights of 'Spider-Man' or 'Iron Man,' which cleared $100 million." That said, expectations at both camps have been met, especially when "Thor's" US opening weekend gets added to the world wide box office numbers.

Opening in several territories eleven days earlier, the film already raked in $176 million for a global take of $242 million. The article notes these numbers are better than the lifetime grosses of both "X-Men" and "Fantastic Four." Paramount vice chair Rob Moore told THR, "When you look at the Marvel brand, to be at this level of success on a global level is certainly a great story."

The success of "Thor" is a key factor in Marvel's future movie plans. A healthy first weekend signals the studio can launch lesser known characters; an important ability as Marvel develops projects from comic books like "Dr. Strange," "Runaways," and "Ant Man;" not to mention the inevitable "Thor" sequel. It also gives added confidence to its "Cinematic Universe" plan for July's "Captain America: The First Avenger" and next summer's "The Avengers." Bridging those films (and the earlier "Iron Man" flicks) has also been a risky proposition, but it appears to be paying off.

Stay with CBR as the summer movie season heats up.

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