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Posted at 11:17 AM ET, 05/16/2011

‘Bridesmaids’ box office: Why did the buzzy comedy come in second?


Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne in "Bridesmaids." (Suzanne Hanover - AP)

Bridesmaids” had stronger buzz behind it than “Thor.” The female-centric comedy also boasted stronger reviews, with a 90 percent positive score on Rotten Tomatoes, compared with “Thor’s” still-decent 77 percent positive ranking.

So how come it came in second place at the weekend box office? It’s because America can’t accept a comedy in which women suffer from explosive intestinal distress, isn’t it? Actually, no. There are other reasons “Thor” held on to the top spot, and most of them involve math.

Let’s examine them, along with other box-office-related results, after the jump.

Despite all the goodwill shown to “Bridesmaids,” “Thor,” which earned $34.5 million, was the presumptive favorite entering the weekend box office race. Why? It had the numbers behind it. For starters, the hammer-wielding hero could be seen on 3,963 screens around the country, while “Bridesmaids” played on a modest-by-comparison 2,918 screens.

“Thor” also is screening in 3D and Imax, allowing theaters to charge higher ticket prices for those more-eye-popping screenings. No matter how hilarious Kristen Wiig and Co. are, it’s pretty tough to compete with that.

According to Box Office Mojo, “Bridesmaids” should be reasonably proud of the $24.4 million it made, which is a strong start for an R-rated comedy. One minor cause for alarm, especially for those who detect a whiff of cinematic sexism in all this: Universal has reported that 67 percent of the “Bridesmaids” audience was female. So the studio’s attempt to emphasize the movie’s appeal to both genders was only moderately successful.

Still, “Bridesmaids” has already shot to the front of the pack in the May wedding-movie race. “Jumping the Broom” and “Something Borrowed” have earned $26 million and $25.6 million, respectively, in their two weeks of release.

And the Judd Apatow-produced comedy also outperformed a couple of other disappointing debuts. Sorry, Paul Bettany: “Priest” landed in fourth place with just $14.5 million. And even more heartfelt apologies go to Will Ferrell, whose “Everything Must Go,” in a limited release of only 218 theaters, earned $825,000. That Deangelo Vickers can’t catch a break, can he?

Here’s the quick list of weekend’s top five movies, followed by a poll that will allow you to predict the obvious: that “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” will top next weekend’s box office.

1. “Thor” — $34.5 million

2. “Bridesmaids” — $24.4 million

3. “Fast Five”— $19.5 million

4. “Priest” — $14.5 million

5. “Rio” — $8 million

By  |  11:17 AM ET, 05/16/2011

 
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