"Thor: The Dark World" Takes in $7.1 Million in Thursday Night Screenings

Marvel Studios' "Thor: The Dark World" is off to a strong start, with Variety reporting an estimated $7.1 million gross from Thursday night showings. The film opened in U.S. theaters Thursday at 8 p.m.

$7.1 million puts it ahead of the 2011 domestic Thursday takes of both the original "Thor" film ($3.25 million) and "Captain America: The First Avenger" ($4 million). Yet it's short of the $15.6 million in Thursday grosses earlier this year by "Iron Man 3," and the $18.7 million made in that time frame by 2012's "The Avengers." Both "Iron Man 3" and "The Avengers" ended their theatrical runs with more than $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

It's also less than this year's DC Comics-based "Man of Steel," which earned a $21 million Thursday, in part buoyed by Walmart-sponsored 7 p.m. screenings.

"The Dark World" is already a major hit oversees, having grossed $109 million this past weekend in international box office. Variety reports its current international total at $152.8 million.

Box Office Mojo unsurprisingly predicts "Thor: The Dark World" to open at No. 1 this weekend, with a projected $89 million. The site reports the film's production budget as $170 million. Variety is more bullish about the movie's prospects, reporting a project $95 million opening weekend.

As observed by The Hollywood Reporter, "The Dark World" is tracking well among "all quadrants of the moviegoing audience," with interest from young females and Hispanics high for a superhero film. Reviews have been slightly less kind, with a 66 percent positive ranking on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 54 on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews."

"Thor: The Dark World" is in theaters now.

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