Thor: The Dark World is off and spinning—and headed for a big box-office weekend.
The Chris Hemsworth-led sequel, featuring Natalie Portman, grossed an estimated $7.1 million in Thursday-night previews and Friday-midnight screenings, its studio reported. Overseas, where it opened last week, it upped its international haul to $158.2 million.
Domestically, the movie is outpacing its franchise-starter, 2011's Thor, which got off to a $3.2 million midnight start, and its Marvel bullpen partner, Captain America: The First Avenger, also from 2011, which kicked off with $4 million in the preview frame.
Moving into the weekend, the hammer-swinging Norse god is projected to break into Iron Man territory, with forecasters calling for a three-day, Thor: The Dark World gross of $90 million-plus. (The original Iron Man movie, released in 2008, debuted with $98.6 million; the first Thor scored a $65.7 million opening.)
With Thor moving up, Ender's Game is expected to move down.
Last weekend's No. 1 film, which got off to a so-so $32.5 million start, could settle for second or third with less than $15 million—something that wouldn't be a promising development for a movie that reportedly cost $110 million.
The rest of Hollywood is mainly staying out of the way of the $170 million Thor: The Dark World. Aside from added screens for Oscar contender 12 Years a Slave and the Rachel McAdams time-traveling romance, About Time, there are no new movies in wide release this weekend.
Thor is a guy who needs his room.