By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Superhero sequel"Thor: The Dark World" hammered out another victory in itssecond weekend at U.S. and Canadian box offices, overcoming astrong performance from Christmas-themed romantic comedy "TheBest Man Holiday."
"Thor," from Walt Disney Co's Marvel Studios, hauledin $38.4 million in ticket sales from Friday through Sunday,according to studio estimates. "Best Man Holiday" earned $30.6million to take the No. 2 spot. Senior-citizen, buddy comedy"Last Vegas" finished third with $8.9 million.
Elsewhere, "Catching Fire," the highly anticipated "HungerGames" sequel starring Jennifer Lawrence, opened big in Brazilwith $6.3 million. The movie is to open in the United States,Canada and dozens of other countries on Friday.
"Best Man Holiday," a sequel to 1999 film "The Best Man,"exceeded the forecasts of box office analysts, who had predicteda debut at around $24 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters.
The installment brings back nine stars from the originalfilm, including Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard and Morris Chestnut,for a reunion that tests marriages and friendships. The moviecost $17 million to make, according to the Box Office Mojowebsite.
"No one ever would have expected this kind of number," saidNikki Rocco, president for domestic distribution at UniversalPictures, noting that the studio was expecting an openingweekend total "somewhere in the high teens."
"The stars really aligned on this one," Rocco said, addingthat its A+ rating from CinemaScore, which polls moviegoers,bodes well for continued strong performance leading up to theThanksgiving holiday later in November.
"Thor" stars Chris Hemsworth as the god of thunder whobattles to save his homeland from an enemy force. Tom Hiddlestonco-stars as his conniving brother, Loki. Through Sunday, themovie had grossed $480 million around the world, Disney said.
"Last Vegas" features Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman,Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline as four friends who gather for abachelor party. Total sales since its Nov. 1 release reached $47million through Sunday.
Rounding out the charts, animated movie "Free Birds" tookthe No. 4 spot with $8.3 million while comedy "Jackass Presents:Bad Grandpa" was fifth pulling in $7.7 million.
Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp,released "Best Man Holiday." "Last Vegas" was distributed by CBSFilms, a unit of CBS Corp. "Bad Grandpa" was released byParamount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. "Free Birds"was distributed by privately held Relativity Media. Lions GateEntertainment Corp released "Catching Fire."