And so while both movies open today, they're not opening at the same multiplex, so to speak.
Here's what each has to do to win the first box-office weekend of Hollywood's summer season.
Thor's mission is to:
1. Avoid an Avengers-threatening failure at its 3,500 locations. (Fortunately, for the titular titan, as you'll see in No. 4, failure is pretty much an impossibility.)
2. Discourage any and all comparisons to Iron Man.
4. Remind the number-crunchers that even if the movie turns out to be the smallest-grossing summer opener since 2006's Mission: Impossible III, the $150 million behemoth has already—yes, already!—grossed more than $120 million overseas.
Meanwhile, the reputedly $20 million Beaver's mission is to:
1. Play at its 22 theaters without incident.
2. And… Um… Well, that's pretty much about it.
The bottom line is Thor wins by not losing, and The Beaver's a movie about a guy who talks through a hand puppet, starring a guy who probably envies all the great PR Charlie Sheen's been getting.
It wins by getting off the shelf.