"Thor: The Dark World" will steal "The Best Man Holiday's" thunder at the box office this weekend.
After debuting with a healthy $85.7 million, the 3-D superhero sequel is expected to collect at least an additional $40 million during its second weekend in theaters, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys. Providing the only other competition is the only new wide release "The Best Man Holiday," a modestly budgeted sequel aimed at African Americans poised to debut with a robust $23 million. (Universal Pictures, which is distributing the film, is predicting an opening of around $17 million.)
The original "Thor" saw its ticket sales tumble 47% in its second week in theaters in 2011. Its predecessor will likely see a similar drop this weekend, its last before facing off against "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." The young adult franchise will dominate ticket sales when it opens late next week, potentially collecting more than $150 million between Thursday evening and Sunday.
"The Best Man Holiday," about a group of old friends who reunite over Christmas, has earned largely positive reviews. The film is a sequel to 1999's "The Best Man," which grossed $34 million. Both films were directed by Malcom D. Lee and feature many of the same actors, including Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard and Nia Long. The sequel, financed for a $17 million by Universal, is generating the most interest among older females.
There are a number of holiday-themed films featuring black ensemble casts hitting theaters this fall, including "Black Nativity" and "Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas." The most recent comedy marketed to African American moviegoers, the romantic comedy "Baggage Claim," underperformed in September with just $21.4 million in sales.
In limited release, Paramount Pictures is releasing its black-and-white family drama "Nebraska" in two theaters in Los Angeles and another couple in New York. The film, which stars Bruce Dern as an elderly man convinced he has won $1 million in sweepstakes, has become a critical darling since debuting at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Paramount is hopeful that audiences will spread positive word-of-mouth about the $12-million production before it expands to more theaters later this month.
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