New York - In an unlikely battle of sequels, Thor: The Dark World bested The Best Man Holiday at the box office.
Disney's Thor: The Dark World continued its box-office reign with $38.5m in its second week of release, according to studio estimates Sunday. Opening 15 years after the original The Best Man, Universal's The Best Man Holiday opened strongly with $30.6m.
Drawing an overwhelmingly female and African-American audience, The Best Man Holiday was a surprise challenger for the mighty Thor. The R-rated romantic comedy, with an ensemble cast including Morris Chestnut and Taye Diggs, debuted with more than three times the box office of 1999's The Best Man. That film opened with $9m.
The performance of director Malcolm D. Lee's The Best Man Holiday continued an ongoing trend. Movies that appeal particularly to black audiences have often been surpassing expectations at the box office.
Lee Daniels' The Butler led the box office for several weeks in August, leading to a cumulative total of $115.5m domestically. The Oscar-contender 12 Years a Slave has made $25m in five weeks of limited release.
Marvel's Norse superhero, however, has been hammering audiences around the globe. Thor: The Dark World made $52.5m internationally over the weekend, bringing its worldwide total to $479.8m. With Chris Hemsworth as the title character and Tom Hiddleston as the popular villain Loki, the Thor franchise has proven to be one of Marvel's most successful.
Just as Thor approached the half-billion mark, Warner Bros.' space adventure Gravity crossed it in its seventh week of release.
The Best Man Holiday was the only new wide-release opening over the weekend, as the marketplace clears out for the release of Hunger Games: Catching Fire. In limited release, Alexander Payne's black-and-white Midwest road trip Nebraska opened in four locations with a strong $35 000 per theater average for Paramount Pictures.
Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street was originally slated to open, but was postponed to 25 December by Paramount.
Expected to be one of the year's biggest debuts, Lionsgate's Catching Fire will abruptly close the box-office window for Thor next weekend. Catching Fire opened in Brazil over the weekend, earning $6.3m.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.
1. Thor: The Dark World, $38.5m ($52.5m international).
2. The Best Man Holiday, $30.6m.
3. Last Vegas, $8.9m ($3.5m international).
4. Free Birds, $8.3m ($1.2m international).
5. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, $7.7m ($5.5m international).
6. Gravity, $6.3m ($18.5m).
7. Ender's Game, $6.2m ($2.2m international).
8. 12 Years a Slave, $4.7m.
9. Captain Phillips, $4.5m ($8.4m international).
10. About Time, $3.5m ($1.9m international).
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