'Thor: The Dark World' Tracking for Strong $75 Million-Plus Debut

If pre-release tracking is any indication, Thor: The Dark World could enjoy one of the best November openings of all time at the North American box office, particularly for a film opening earlier in the month.

The sequel, returning Chris Hemsworth to the title role, debuted on tracking Thursday, and is pacing to open north of $75 million, according to rival studios with access to tracking. Thor 2, from Marvel Studios and Disney, doesn't open domestically for another three weeks (Nov. 8).

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That would easily exceed the $65.7 million opening of the original Thor in May 2011, on its way to earning $449 million worldwide, marking another victory for Marvel. Iron Man 3, released in May, is the top film of 2013 so far, earning $1.2 billion worldwide.

Thor 2, like Iron Man 3, is expected to benefit from 2012 global blockbuster The Avengers, the crown jewel of Marvel's superhero film empire. Avengers, which features Hemsworth as Thor and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, among other Marvel characters, earned $1.5 billion worldwide to become the No. 3 film of all time after Avatar and Titanic.

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Thor 2 is sparking interest among all quadrants of the movie-going audience. Interest is high among younger females for a superhero film, likely due to Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, who likewise returns for the follow-up alongside Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, and Idris Elba. Thor 2 is also tracking well among Hispanics.

Kenneth Branagh directed the first Thor, while the sequel is from filmmaker Alan Taylor.

Thor 2 takes place one year after the events of The Avengers, as Thor reunites with Jane Foster (Portman) and tries to save his planet from a mysterious enemy. Thor also forms an uneasy alliance with his adoptive brother, Loki (Hiddleston).

The top opening for early November is the $88.4 million earned by James Bond pic Skyfall last year. The Twilight Saga: New Moon is the record-holdover for best November opening with $142.8 million. (The franchise installment opened Nov. 20, 2009).

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