Disney’s Thor: Love and Thunder, the fourth stand-alone Marvel story about Chris Hemsworth’s badass Asgardian superhero, earned at the box office with a $143 million debut.
The film, which is playing in 4,375 theaters across North America, is just a tad behind the $150 million estimate, but this opening weekend is sure to be cause for celebration. Notably, Thor 4 got off to a better start than its predecessor, the 2017 quirky comedy Thor: Ragnarok, which sold $123 million in North America. “Love and Thunder” was also the third-best opening weekend of the year behind “Jurassic World Reign” ($145 million) and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” ($185 million).
Theater owners are encouraged that Love and Thunder continues its strong summer movie season, which has grossed $2.27 billion to date, according to Comscore. An encouraging sign for the exhibition industry is that this return is 217% higher than in 2021 and just 12% lower than in 2019.
At the international box office, “Love and Thunder” exceeded all expectations, grossing $159 million in 47 markets, bringing its global gross to an impressive $302 million. The film cost $250 million to produce, with promotion costing approximately $100 million.
The crowd at the opening weekend for Thor: Love and Thunder was predominantly male, with males making up 60% of ticket buyers. Thor also benefited heavily from Imax, 3D and other premium formats, which accounted for 36% of global ticket sales. The Imax alone brought in $23 million worldwide, including $13.8 million in North America.
Since the original Paramount-produced Thor launched in 2011 with $65 million, the show’s popularity has only grown over the past decade. But while Thor has become a fan favorite, the newest superhero adventure lacks the multiverse component that fueled the mainstream involvement in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or Spider-Man: No Way Home. sales have not reached this level. Although the Guardians of the Galaxy make a brief appearance in Love and Thunder, the story feels more like a one-shot adventure in the vast Marvel Cinematic Universe. In terms of opening weekend returns, Thor 4 ranked 12th out of 29 films in the franchise.
Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi has returned to direct Love and Thunder, which follows the Norse god Hemsworth as he teams up with his former hottie Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who now wields her own hammer as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark on a journey to defeat the galactic villain Gorr the Butcher God (feeble-looking Christian Bale), who is obsessed with his plan to purge the universe of all that is divine.
Critics and audiences did not love Love and Thunder as much as they adored the non-standard Ragnarok. The newest installment holds a 68% on Rotten Tomatoes and a “B+” CinemaScore. By comparison, Ragnarok received a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and an “A-” CinemaScore.
In a distant second, Universal and Illumination’s Minions: The Rise of Gru made $45.5 million between Friday and Sunday, down 57% from its opening weekend. So far, the fifth installment of the Despicable Me animated franchise has grossed an impressive $210 million at the box office and $399.8 million worldwide.
At No. 3, Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick held its ground, garnering another significant number of viewings despite the film’s nearly two months in theaters. The blockbuster action movie sequel grossed $15.5 million from 3,513 theaters in its seventh weekend of release, down 40% from its previous run. These ticket sales pushed the film’s domestic bill to $597 million, a stone’s throw away from being one of only 12 films to ever top $600 million in North America.
Baz Luhrmann’s musical biopic Elvis came in at number four with $11 million from 3,714 screens, down 40% from last weekend. The Warner Bros. kaleidoscopic film, which stars Austin Butler as the king of rock and roll, chugged softly at the box office, grossing a solid $91.1 million in North America.
Universal’s Dinosaur “Jurassic World Dominion” came in at number five, earning $8.4 million from 3,251 theaters in its fifth weekend on the big screen. With such earnings, the sixth chapter of the Jurassic franchise passed the $350 million mark at the box office, a notable benchmark in times of the pandemic. The film’s predecessor, 2018’s Fallen Kingdom, finished at the North American box office with $417 million.
Elsewhere, A24’s hilarious “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” continues to captivate audiences, grossing $340,000 from 48 theaters in its third weekend of limited release. The inch-tall seashell movie (voiced by Jenny Slate) grossed $963,416 as it continues to slowly roll across the US.
Marcel Shell finished the weekend in eighth place, one spot ahead of Mr. Universe. Malcolm’s List, which ran in 20 theaters. The Bleecker Street historical drama stumbled into 9th place with $245,126 from 1,067 screens, bringing its two-week bill to a dismal $1.6 million.
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