Thor arrived in theaters, pretty much everywhere except the United States and Canada, on April 28th. It’s been making big money in international markets for more than week now, earning $176 million before the biggest movie consuming market got a chance to take a crack at it. This weekend Americans got their chance to support the movie I called Marvel’s best so far, and they showed up, without seeming all that enthusiastic about it.

Thor came in at number one this weekend, earning $66 million over the three day period which started with 12:01 am showings on Friday. That’s a solid, if generally unspectacular number for one of the year’s biggest, most heavily promoted superhero movies on the first weekend of summer. To put that number in perspective for you, Iron Man earned $98 million its first weekend. Thor was nowhere near Tony Stark’s weight class. Instead that total puts it in the company of a less well regarded movie like The Incredible Hulk, which earned $55 million its opening weekend and ended up totaling around $134 million domestically. Strong word of mouth should help Thor push beyond Hulk’s totals, but don’t be surprised if the god of thunder struggles to break $150 million in the United States.

Yet I doubt Marvel Studios really cares how well this movie does in the US, since it’s already made back its $150 million production budget and more overseas. Anything the US brings to the table with its increasingly less critical audience is all gravy.

Still, it’s strange that such a heavily promoted superhero film would fail to surpass Fast Five. When released last weekend Fast Five earned $86 million domestically. The film lost some steam this weekend but still turned up in second place with a respectable $32 million showing. What’s particularly noteworthy about Fast Five is that it’s making that money in 2D. Thor, on the other hand, is making almost all of its money off 3D showings. 2D tickets are cheaper than 3D tickets, which makes the real gap between the number of people seeing Fast Five and Thor all that much bigger.

Outside the top ten chart The Beaver, Mel Gibson’s new indie movie with Jodie Foster debuted in a limited, 22 screen release. It’s not exactly selling out. The film did moderately well, achieving a $4,727 per screen average. By comparison, Thor had the weekend’s highest per screen average with $16,688 while Hoodwinked Too! had the worst, with a measly $750 per screen. The Beaver falls somewhere in between, but unless it picks up some steam next week, that may not be enough to push it out into a wider release.

Box Office for the Weekend Of May 6 – 8, 2011
WR = Weeks In Release | LW = Position Last Week
1. Thor *
WEEKEND: $66,000,000 | TOTAL: $66,000,000 | WR: 1 | LW: N/A

2. Fast Five
WEEKEND: $32,519,000 | TOTAL: $139,853,000 | WR: 2 | LW: 1

3. Jumping the Broom *
WEEKEND: $13,700,000 | TOTAL: $13,700,000 | WR: 1 | LW: N/A

4. Something Borrowed *
WEEKEND: $13,155,000 | TOTAL: $13,155,000 | WR: 1 | LW: N/A

5. Rio
WEEKEND: $8,200,000 | TOTAL: $114,902,000 | WR: 4 | LW: 2

6. Water for Elephants
WEEKEND: $5,600,000 | TOTAL: $41,614,000 | WR: 3 | LW: 4

7. Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family
WEEKEND: $3,900,000 | TOTAL: $46,806,000 | WR: 3 | LW: 3

8. Prom
WEEKEND: $2,425,000 | TOTAL: $7,800,000 | WR: 2 | LW: 5

9. Soul Surfer
WEEKEND: $2,100,000 | TOTAL: $36,679,000 | WR: 5 | LW: 7

10. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
WEEKEND: $1,880,000 | TOTAL: $6,714,000 | WR: 2 | LW: 6

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