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06 May 2011

Hollywood Movie news round up, by Greg Tingle - 5th May 2011

Paramount Pictures smashes into in North America this weekend, looking to kickstart the superhero franchise for Marvel Studios. The flick is expected to net in the range of Marvel's X-Men or Fantastic Four and not in the region of Iron Man or Spider-Man.

Industry insiders and numbers men advised Thor has grossed $125 million overseas thus far, and might milk another $60 million or so in it's domestic debut.

Also opening this weekend are comedies: Warner Bros. 'Something Borrowed and Screen Gems' Jumping the Broom

Launching in a limited run is Jodie Foster's high-profile indie drama The Beaver, starring Mel Gibson.

Thor is expected to best the others in the domestic race, since Universal's box office hit Fast Five will be in its second weekend. Commentators expect Fast Five to still do strong business, grossing in the region of $40 million.

Globally Fast Five could best Thor as it expands into 30 additional markets. Both event pics opened overseas first. Thor won the international race last weekend, playing in tons more territories than Fast Five.

On Wednesday, Fast Five burned past the $200 million mark worldwide with a US take of $103.2 million and an international gross of $100.3 million.

Fast Five and Thor have somewhat rejuvenated an otherwise flat box office in the US and Australia.

Kenneth Branagh directed Thor. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, while Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins also headline.

Thor is the first of two summer tentpoles from Marvel Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.

The second, Captain America: The First Avenger, opens July 22.

Paramount insiders say Thor should do stronger business than the first runs of the Marvel franchises with X-Men and Fantastic Four, plus The Incredible Hulk (2008), which all debuted in the $55 million to $56 million range.

Thor should be boosted by strong reviews, with only a couple of critics hammering it. The movie is tracking best among males of all ages, while interest among younger women has picked up strongly over the past week.

The young women audience are just as interested as seeing Thor as they are Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros.' Something Borrowed, which, like Jumping the Broom, is looking to serve as counterprogramming and plus into Mother's Day on Sunday.

Stats show Something Borrowed opening in the $10 million to $12 million range, while Jumping the Broom should reach $10 million.

A romantic comedy produced and fully financed by Alcon, Something Borrowed stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, John Krasinski and Colin Egglesfield. Hilary Swank is a producer on the flick, which is based on the book by Emily Giffin.

Warner Bros is distributing Something Borrowed via its output deal with Alcon.

Jumping the Broom's ensemble cast includes Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Mike Epps.

Salim Akil directed the comedy, which centers around two families from two very different environments who gather on Martha's Vineyard for a wedding.

The Beaver opens in 22 art house theaters in the country's top 10 markets. The film is a Summit and Participant Media presentation in association with Imagenation Abu Dhabi. The pic, about a man's transformation through the use of a puppet, makes its international premiere this month at the Cannes Film Festival, where it plays out of competition.

In addition to directing, Foster stars in The Beaver alongside Gibson, Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence. The specialty film cost $21 million, with much of the budget covered through foreign presales.

The Beaver was on track to open last year, but its release was delayed after Gibson became embroiled in controversy over a series of tape recordings made by his former girlfriend.

It's safe to say that it's going to be a strong month or two for ticket sales, with Thor and Fast Five leading the pack.

Be on the lookout for Water For Elephants to also perform strongly, judging by its red carpet premier in Sydney, Australia tonight.

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