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Weekend Box Office: 'Thor 2' Still Number 1, But 'Best Man Holiday' Comes Out Strong

Disney Marvel's Thor: The Dark World holds strong against Comcast Universal's The Best Man Holiday, will compete next week with Lionsgate and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Disney Marvel's Thor: The Dark World won the weekend, Image source: Marvel

I hope you secured your shutters, Marvel fans, because Thor: The Dark World brought the thunder yet again over the past three days, besting all other box office contenders with a solid $38.5 million haul.

That's a 55.3% drop from the Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) sequel's monstrous domestic debut last weekend, which means Thor: The Dark World held up slightly better than Iron Man 3 with its 58% plunge earlier this year. What's more, thanks to another strong international turnout, Thor: The Dark World has now earned an incredible $479.8 million globally since its overseas launch just three weekends ago, easily exceeding the $449.3 million total garnered over 16 weeks by its 2011 predecessor.

There's a bigger winner this weekend

While that wasn't particularly surprising given the absence of any other new big-budget blockbuster films -- remember Lionsgate's (NYSE: LGF  )  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will finally hit theaters this Friday -- there was another unexpected twist this weekend. Namely, that Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) Universal's sequel The Best Man Holiday also enticed audiences to part with $30.6 million of their entertainment budgets in its own theatrical launch.

In fact, while that was "only" good enough for second place, remember The Best Man Holiday actually edged out Thor: The Dark World in Friday sales, and in the process earned a coveted "A+" CinemaScore from polled audiences.

All told, I'd even venture to say The Best Man Holiday was this weekend's true box office champ, especially considering Comcast only spent $17 million to produce the comedy, or roughly one-tenth of what Disney forked out to bring Thor: The Dark World to fruition. For further perspective, note The Best Man Holiday arrives 14 years after the original Best Man film, which itself cost Comcast around $9 million to make and earned a respectable $34.6 million in total ticket sales over 14 weeks on the big screen.

Let's not forget everybody else...

In other holdover news, CBS  (NYSE: CBS  ) Films' Last Vegas held up exceptionally well in its third weekend, falling just 19.8% to earn $8.9 million. That brings its domestic-only cumulative to roughly $47 million so far -- not bad given CBS' reasonable $28 million production outlay.

Meanwhile, Relativity Media's animated Thanksgiving effort, Free Birds, fell by a quarter to $8.3 million, no doubt benefiting from its intentional holiday timing. Viacom's Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa also kept up the good work with $7.7 million in fourth-weekend U.S. sales, bringing its worldwide gross to a solid $119.2 million, or nearly eight times its paltry $15 million budget.

Finally, Warner Brothers' Gravity and Lionsgate's Ender's Game rounded out the sixth and seventh spots with $6.3 million and $6.2 million, respectively. That's great for Time Warner's enduring space thriller, which stands in its seventh weekend and has earned an awesome $514.9 million worldwide so far. It's not so encouraging for Ender's Game, however, which has only grossed $63 million in its first three weekends, far short of its $110 million budget.

I suppose the folks at Lionsgate can take some solace knowing they only financed 20% of the controversial film's total, and you can bet they're looking forward to the second installment of The Hunger Games franchise next weekend. Nonetheless, that's gotta sting given Enders Games' compelling story and loyal throng of sci-fi fans.

The battle doesn't end here
For all the focus on the big screen, its easy to forget many of these companies are also fighting to win your living room. The future of television begins now, with an all-out $2.2 trillion media war that pits cable companies like Cox, Comcast, and Time Warner against technology giants like Apple, Google, and Netflix. The Motley Fool's shocking video presentation reveals the secret Steve Jobs took to his grave, and explains why the only real winners are these three lesser-known power players that film your favorite shows. Click here to watch today!

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