Aside from the near-certainty that Odin’s son will once more bring Mjolnir across the Bifrost from Asgard to trounce his foes like Frost Giants from Jötunheimr (translation: Thor will be number one), there aren’t many sure things in this weekend’s box office race. How far will Thor drop from its godly perch? Can the female-centric comedy Bridesmaids beat the F/X-driven supernatural thriller Priest to the altar? And will Fast Five race down the chart as quickly as the series’ earlier models? Here’s a look at how things might play out:
1. Thor: $32 million
With no clear blockbusters in this week’s new crop of films, Thor should keep his box office throne without much of a fight. Still, past spring/summer action hits have taken steep falls in their second weeks: Consider 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine (down 69 percent in week two), 2010’s Clash of the Titans (56.5 percent), and 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (65.5 percent). But none of those movies had Thor‘s strong reviews. Expect to see the movie dip about 50 percent as part of the fanboy crowd flocks to Priest.
2. Bridesmaids: $17 million
Sadly, there haven’t been enough smart, raunchy, female-focused comedies to give us a box office yardstick for a movie like this. Will it do mid-teens like 2008’s Baby Mama, which starred SNL vets Tina Fey and Amy Poehler? Will it open at $45 million like 2009’s The Hangover, which has a vaguely similar premise of premarital debauchery? With commercials stressing fart jokes and the involvement of producer Judd Apatow, the movie is obviously trying to reach past the audience that would usually go to a female ensemble wedding comedy. (Looking at you, ladies.) Plus, it got a straight A from EW’s Owen Gleiberman, along with solid reviews from plenty of other critics. But the fact remains that any movie called Bridesmaids will be a tough sell for many guys, so look for an opening in the mid to high teens.
3. Priest: $15 million
Paul Bettany’s last theological thriller, Legion, opened to a solid $17.5 million in January of 2010. But this comic adaptation, about a vampire-hunting man of the cloth, is taking a leap of faith by coming out in summer. While it’ll tempt young guys who have already seen Thor and Fast Five, there’s not much chance of it breaking past its core crowd. Including 3-D upcharges, expect a mid to low teens bow, followed by a quick decline next week.
4. Fast Five: $14 million
Movies in the Fast & Furious franchise tend to burn off their box office fuel fast and furiously. 2009’s F&F took a 61.6 percent plunge in its second frame, and 2009’s Tokyo Drift veered 59.1 percent off course after opening to a series low of $23 million. Likewise, Fast Five slowed by 62.4 percent last week after a monster $86.2 million bow last month. Now on cruise control (with $355 million worldwide already in the bank), Five should slip another 60 percent or so to a low teens finish in its third weekend.
5. Jumping the Broom: $9 million
It’s not going to steal the box office bouquet from Bridesmaids, but this modest nuptial comedy could hold well considering it raked in $15.2 million last week, beating the starrier Something Borrowed. It also got an A from Cinemascore voters, which means it stands to benefit from good word of mouth in its second frame. If it drops around 40 percent, that should put it right around $9 million — not bad for a movie with a reported budget of just $6.6 million.
Think our guesses are right on, or way off? Let us know in the comments!