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Posted at 01:36 PM ET, 05/08/2011

‘THOR’ SCORES: Marvel film tops box office with $66M debut

Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in "Thor." (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures-Marvel Studios, Zade Rosenthal) (Zade Rosenthal - AP)
Thor’s magic hammer has solidly planted the summer movie season’s first tentpole.

“Thor,” Marvel’s latest big-budget superhero film, won the weekend by grossing $66-million in its domestic debut, according to studio estimates Sunday. (Final numbers are scheduled to be released Monday.)

The film’s box office was in line with industry projections; appearing on nearly 4,000 North American screens, it was expected to open in the range of $60-million to $70-million.

While opening solidly, the critically well-received film did pale in comparison to some other Marvel-franchise openers: 2002’s “Spider-Man” (starring Tobey Maguire) debuted with a $115-million gross; and 2008’s “Iron Man” (Robert Downey Jr.) bowed in with $99-million.

Walt Disney’s Marvel Studios produced “Thor” for $150-million (the movie is distributed by Paramount), according to

Boasting an international cast, “Thor” stars Australia’s Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder and features two Oscar winners — Anthony Hopkins as Thor’s papa Odin and Natalie Portman as mortal Jane Foster — as well as Oscar-nominated director Kenneth Branagh.

The film opened well overseas, already grossing more than $133-million. Internationally, “Thor” is dueling with “Fast Five,” last weekend’s North American champ, which this weekend fell to second ($32.5-million) domestically.

“Thor” also fell right in line with expectations in one other regard: Two-thirds of “Thor” filmgoers were men.

By  |  01:36 PM ET, 05/08/2011

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