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Alan Taylor

Seven lessons from 'Thor: The Dark World's' box-office success

The numbers were thrown around soon after “Thor: The Dark World” premiered: fourth-best opening of the year, ninth-best November opening ever, etc.

On one level, the $86.1 million for the Chris Hemsworth thunderousness isn’t exactly surprising: Superhero sequels make bank. It's more surprising these days when a film in this vein doesn't work.

And the opening was lower than the $90 million-$100 million some expected (and a planet away from the $170 million-plus of "Iron Man 3" earlier this year).

Still, the film’s performance is strong (it also has taken in $240 million overseas since opening in many major territories last weekend),...