The latest Marvel superhero movie, "Thor," got off to an unspectacular start at the domestic box office this weekend, narrowly missing its pre-release target with an estimated $66 million gross, according to studio data.
Meanwhile, the new Mel Gibson film tanked even in a paltry 22 theaters, while Universal's "Fast Five" sped to an international record.
The Paramount-distributed film, which arrived with a studio-reported production budget of $150 million, also grossed $46 million at a whopping 12,476 international playdates, bringing its global total to $242 million.
Once again the domestic market faied to match the figure fr the same weekend in 2010. Revenue was 11 percent below an "Iron Man 2"-led weekend last year.
Instead, the foreign market produced the most intrigue.
Universal's "Fast Five" broke the studio's all-time foreign weekend mark, grossing $86.6 million at 6,979 dates across 58 territories. ("King Kong" was the previous record holder with $84.3 million.)
Domestically, "Fast Five" dropped off 62 percent from its incendiary first weekend, grossing $32.5 million.
Here's how the top 10 finished. Full report continues below chart:
Two romantic comedies also debuting widely this weekend — Sony's African-American-targeted "Jumping the Broom" and Warner's "Something Borrowed" — both hit or exceeded their pre-release targets.
The TD Jakes-produced "Broom" grossed $13.7 million playing at 2,035 locations, generating an A grade from moviegoer survey firm Cinemascore.
The film cost Sony only $6.6 million to produce.
"Ten million would have been a good hit for us," said Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer. "We're really going to do well with this film."
Kate Hudson film "Something Borrowed," meanwhile, grossed $13.2 million playing at 2,904 dates.
The Alcon Entertainment-produced movie, which was made for around $35 million and co-stars “The Office’s” John Krasinski and “Big Love’s” Ginnifer Goodwin, was expected to open in the low teens.
In limited release, Summit's Jodie Foster-directed "The Beaver" was a big bust.
The film, which features Mel Gibson in his first starring role since he endured his most publicly humiliating round of tabloid press, grossed just $104,000 playing at 22 locations for a painful per-screen average of $4,745.
But the biggest story at the domestic box office this weekend was "Thor," which features Chris Hemsworth in the Norse god title role and co-stars Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins.
For their part, Paramount officials expressed more conservative pre-release guidance in the $55 million range.
"If you go by exhibition, which is more hopeful and optimistic, they thought $55 million-plus was a doable number, so if the movie got into the mid-60s, certainly that has to be considered a success for the launch of a Marvel franchise," said Paramount distribution G.M. Don Harris.
The last time Paramount and Marvel teamed to launch a superhero franchise was in 2008, when the first "Iron Man" opened up to $98.6 million.
But as Harris noted earlier, in terms of the Marvel pantheon of characters, Iron Man is probably a bit better known than Thor.
Notably, $6.6 million of its gross — 10 percent — came through distribution on 213 digital IMAX locations — it's the second straight weekend that the big-screen chain has accounted for 10 percent of the box-office leader's gross.
"Thor" opened with a fairly huge domestic footprint — 3,955 locations, most of them charging 3D ticket prices.
The film scored solid reviews (78 percent "fresh" on critics aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes) and a B-plus from Cinemascore.