‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Marks Franchise’s Best Debut

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Four movies later, Thor is still dropping the hammer at the box office.

« Thor: Love and Thunder » grossed $143 million in its opening weekend in North America, according to studio estimates on Sunday. It’s an ideal franchise for the God of Thunder and another hit of the summer 2022 box office season.

The second Thor film directed by Taika Waititi opened on 4,375 screens this weekend, starting with previews on Thursday. It easily topped the box office, pushing « Minions: The Rise of Gru » into second place. Including international screenings, where « Love and Thunder » opened in 47 territories as of the middle of last week, its worldwide total already stands at $302 million.

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The Thor franchise has grown with each subsequent film, which is both a rarity in franchise cinema in general but also not uncommon for those of the Marvel variety. The first film opened to $65.7 million in 2011, followed by $85.7 million for « The Dark World » in 2013 and $122.7 million for « Ragnarok » in 2017. Waititi, who also directed « Ragnarok », is widely credited with rejuvenating the series, infusing it with humor, irreverence and leaning into a larger-than-life metallic aesthetic.

The audience was predominantly male (60%) and 53% were between the ages of 18 and 34, according to exit polls.

« Love and Thunder » brings back Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Natalie Portman, whose Jane Foster becomes the Mighty Thor. Russell Crowe also stars as Zeus and Christian Bale plays the villainous Gorr the God Butcher. It also has the biggest production budget of the Thor movies, at $250 million.

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And yet, it’s worth noting that « Thor: Love and Thunder » isn’t even the biggest Marvel opening of the year. That title is held by « Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, » which debuted to $185 million in early May on the heels of the box office phenom that was « Spider-Man: No Way Home. »

The Minions earned a second-place finish with $45.6 million in weekend two, bringing their domestic total to $210.1 million and their worldwide receipts to $399.9 million.

The workhorse of the summer « Top Gun: Maverick » placed third in its seventh weekend in theaters with $15.5 million. With its domestic total currently at $597.4 million, the Tom Cruise movie is on course to cross $600 million by Monday – one of only 12 films to ever make it.


Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr



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