The mighty hammer of "Thor" reverberated through box offices this weekend, collecting $25.7 million on Friday. But nowhere was the opening more "Swede" than in Los Angeles, where a group famous for staging Viking role-playing events donned helmets and raided local theaters.
The group, called The Norse Hollywood Dining Vikings, dress up in variations of Viking gear in order to go to nice restaurants to eat, drink and be merry -- other guests be damned!
But this past Friday, instead of raiding the local IKEA for Swedish meatballs, 24 chain-mail-clad, horned-helmet-wearing members of the troupe chose to see "Thor" at the Americana, a movie theater in Glendale.
It makes sense, since the Marvel Comics character is based on a character in Scandinavian mythology -- the same culture that spawned the roving, marauding Vikings. What doesn't make sense is that the movie opened nationwide on a Friday and not a Thursday, which was originally named "Thor's Day" (go figure).
There was a personal reason to see the movie as well for Tony Swatton, the de facto leader of the Dining Vikings: When he's not pillaging local restaurants dressed up like someone from a Capital One credit card ad, he's is a master blacksmith and the designer of custom-made weapons, armor and other props for television and film.
In fact, he worked on "Thor," crafting more than 50 swords and the "Infinity Gauntlet" ("That's a big deal among the fan base," he said).
Like any good raid, the Dining Vikings did not warn the movie theater employees that two dozen Viking wannabes were about to converge on the theater in full regalia.
However, the ushers didn't exactly react with shock or awe once the Dining Vikings arrived en masse -- even when Swatton told them, 'We're here to see 'African Cats.'"
"They were nonplussed," Swatton told AOL Weird News. "However, the other people in the theater loved it. They were happy to see 'Thor' with real Vikings. A few people came up and said we made their year. Others thought we were the Capital One guys -- we always get that -- and asked 'What's in your wallet?'"
A true Viking doesn't look back, but Swatton is slightly bittersweet that the theaters popcorn was served in bags, not buckets.
"We bought some foam rubber horns that we wanted to stick on the buckets to make helmets," he said.
Although the Dining Vikings were ready to cheer when Swatton's swords appeared on screen, his mettle was tested when he only saw one of them.
"I was surprised how much money the filmmakers spent on the swords -- like I said, I made 50 of them -- and only one of them was in the final movie," Swatton said.
Still, it was a good night out for the Vikings. But it only whetted their appetite for another movie theater raid in a few weeks.
"There is a rival pirate group called the 'Sparrow Pirates,'" he said. "They'll be showing up at the El Capitan Theater on May 21 for the opening of 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' -- which I also worked on. It might be fun to raid their event."