Thor The Dark World

'About Time,' '12 Years a Slave' Expand Nationwide on Friday

After scoring the year’s fourth-highest overseas opening last weekend, with $111 million, Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” looks to thunder down on the domestic box office, with expectations soaring to north of $95 million in three days.

The “Thor” sequel, which has hammered out $142 million internationally through Wednesday,  is poised to far surpass its predecessor’s $65 million opening in May 2011, helped by familiarity of the character and his appearance in “The Avengers.” Such an achievement would be especially impressive considering the waning performance of 3D lately.

SEE ALSO: Film Review: ‘Thor: The Dark World’

A pair of counterprogrammers expand nationwide on Friday: Universal’s “About Time,” which broadens to 1,200 locations, and Fox Searchlight’s “12 Years a Slave,” at 1,144. Last weekend, “About Time” grossed a decent $1.1 million from 175 playdates; “12 Years a Slave,” meanwhile, crossed $10 million domestically after three weeks.

Fox 2000 launches its first limited release this weekend with WWII-set drama “The Book Thief” bowing at four locations in New York and L.A.

“The Dark World” should give the domestic B.O. a needed jolt, with major tentpoles such as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” soon to follow. Stateside totals are running only slightly ahead of 2012 box office.

The international blow-out for “The Dark World” last weekend forecast a more-than-stellar Stateside debut, with word of mouth buzzing among fanboys and in social media. Fortunately, it’s not a critic-driven movie, as the sequel has only a 44% rating among top critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Thor: The Dark World” has set a last-minute push into North American Imax theaters; the company previously had been committed to playing “Ender’s Game,” which earned a just-OK $27 million last weekend.

“The Dark World” marks the first fall release for Marvel since having been acquired by Disney. The sequel is also the first Marvel property released by Disney without any outside studio participation. Previously, Paramount had shared in revenue for “The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3,” thanks to a deal it struck with Disney after that studio acquired Marvel for $4 billion.

SEE ALSO: Paramount’s Super Payoff for ‘Iron Man 3′

Internationally, “The Dark World” bowed in 36 territories — or 70% of the world  — with major countries including China and India set to follow on Friday.

Bowing

Film (Distributor): Locations

  • Thor: The Dark World (Disney): 3,841
  • The Armstrong Lie (Sony Classics): 5
  • The Book Thief (Fox): 4

Expanding

  • About Time (Universal): 175-1,200
  • 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight): 410-1,144
  • All Is Lost (Roadside): 130-401
  • Dallas Buyers Club (Focus): 9-35

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