Sure, Thor opened at No. 1 on the box-office charts this past weekend, taking in a whopping $66 million.
But it's not like director Kenneth Branagh is unfamiliar with the sensation of being the leader of the pack. He's been there before, as he's quick to point out - 20 years ago, with Dead Again, his second film.
"Many moons ago, Dead Again was cleverly opened in the gap between the end of the summer and the logjam of award-winning pictures," he says in a telephone interview. "And it was No. 1 for two weeks. It was wildly exciting, although it was not a vast sum." (It took in $6.3 million on Labor Day weekend, $4.3 million the weekend after.)
As he spoke, Branagh was still a few days away from the American opening of Thor, though tracking polls had it as a shoo-in to grab the top of the box-office chart on its opening weekend.
"It's an exciting feeling," the 50-year-old actor-director says. Then, perhaps superstitiously, he says, "But we still have to deliver it to the American public."
Branagh, who burst on to the scene in his 20s with his theater work and his first film, 1989's Henry V (for which he became one of the youngest Oscar nominees ever for best director), has built a career that, with detours, has revolved around his love of and reverence for William Shakespeare. So some have sniffed at the idea of Branagh directing a comic-book movie about a hammer-swinging Norse god, as though it were beneath him.
"That's a bit silly to say," Branagh says. "The assumption there is that a comic-book movie is shallower. Or that it's somehow easy to do. But it is in no way easy to make a popular entertainment. People don't just respond to noise and kerfuffle. Without a story, it can feel very empty."
Follow Marshall Fine on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hollywoodnfine
|gallir LOL: - Soy Aragorn, hijo de Arathorn, heredero de Isildur, señor de los Dunedain, heredero del trono de Gondor,... http://t.co/a1SqEBMBej|
|BSheermanMP Who was responsible for authorising the £4.6million payoff to Neville Richardson CEO of Britannia Building Society? @BBCNews #coopbank|
|andrewpercy Great turn out of residents in Skippingdale, Scunthorpe for my bus surger|
|headlinenews Fox: 2-child limit for Muslims in parts of Myanmar: Authorities in Myanmar's western Rakhine state have introd... http://t.co/KC7qbChhXV|
|howiemandel Depends RT @BrianThornsburg: @howiemandel any advice for a fellow germaphobe im terrified of using public restrooms|
|StarBusiness 3 things to never do in a grocery store: Authors Laura J. McDonald and Susan L. Misner of 10 Ways to Stay Brok... http://t.co/2C7JrVkGeW|
Authors check with #Israeli officials: Whom do u favor in #Syria civil war? Confusion continues, but NOT Assad : http://t.co/SBlKcQHrCs
7 hours ago from web
|zaibatsu Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. - Henry David Thoreau|
#Hungary: Authoritarian government leading country towards fascism? http://t.co/c21nOQ2MBj #Roma #Racism #Xenophobia #Fascism #NeoNazis
10 hours ago from web
|CBSLA Authorities are searching for a man accused of robbing several banks in Orange and Los Angeles counties since 2010: http://t.co/y8vPf26LNU|
|LAReviewofBooks [VIDEO] David Ulin interviews author & cartographer Denis Wood about 'Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas' http://t.co/l51kJxsVwz|
|JohnCornyn Holder can't have it both ways on Rosen search warrant - did he or didn't he authorize? Seems he did after denying it.|
|GuyKawasaki Ten deadly marketing mistakes almost every author makes http://t.co/G13K9NHG0i via @BookGal|
|kady Berry has authorized me to thank you all for your lovely recovery tweets! (She's currently resting comfortably, stoned out of her gourd.)|
|downwithtyranny Tesla-- I wonder What Libertarians Think Of The Authoritarians Who Run The North Carolina GOP http://t.co/BzLP9uA32v|
#FF awesomeness! Follow @BoomerWiz @Janie5010 @tinywhalemedia @HuffPostDivorce @DivorcedMoms @Momalomsmom @walkerthornton @judis_dailytips
12 hours ago from web
|eyewitnessnyc NJ Transit buses delayed 30 min out of Port Authority Bus Terminal #breakingnews http://t.co/VTrcodkG58 @breakingnews|
|robindbrant If these claims that adebalajo was part of group questioned by Kenyan authorities are true, was that 'interception' that's been reported?|