It may be November, but it's a summer-ready superhero who reigns at the box office this weekend.
To the surprise of no one, "Thor: The Dark World" earned big numbers on its opening night, taking in more than $31 million, according to estimates.
The 3-D sequel, which again stars Chris Hemsworth as the god of thunder, earned less-than-enthusiastic reviews from the critics apart from Hemsworth's costar Tom Hiddleston, who again portrays Thor's stepbrother Loki. Nevertheless, audiences came out in droves to the latest film from the Marvel universe, and now the only question seems to be whether the film can finish its opening weekend over the $100-million mark, a figure that remains a possibility.
The expected big numbers for "Thor" resulted in little new action elsewhere in theaters, with the critically lauded "12 Years a Slave" venturing out of the art-house for a wider release this weekend. The film earned an estimated $1.8 million on more than a thousand screens.
Another film opening in wider release, the Richard Curtis-directed time-travel romance "About Time," continued to underperform with an estimated $1.5 million in earnings on Friday.
Elsewhere on the charts, the prank comedy "Bad Grandpa" took in an estimated $3.4 million Friday for a distant second place thus far this weekend, "Last Vegas" earned just over $3.2 million followed by "Ender's Game" with $2.9 million. The animated "Free Birds" is on track to round out the top five for the weekend with an estimated $2.6 million so far.