‘Thor’ box office numbers: ‘Love and Thunder’ scores franchise best debut in opening weekend ticket sales

Four movies in, Thor is still hammering away at the box office.

“Thor: Love and Thunder” earned $143 million in its opening weekend in North America, according to studio estimates on Sunday. It’s the best franchise for God of Thunder and another success story of the 2022 summer ticket season.

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

“It’s another home run for Marvel,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “It’s unheard of for a Marvel movie not to open at No. 1.”

The Thor franchise has grown with each subsequent film, which is so rare in franchise filmmaking 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 2013’s “The Dark World” and $122.7 million for 2017’s “Ragnarok.” Waititi, who also directed “Ragnarok,” is widely credited with refreshing the series, infusing it with humor, irreverence and leaning into a larger-than-life metal aesthetic.

Critics have been mostly positive, and its Rotten Tomatoes rating currently sits at 68% fresh. The audience, which gave the film a B+ CinemaScore, was overwhelmingly male (60%) and 53% were between the ages of 18 and 34, according to exit polls. IMAX reported that $23 million of the worldwide total came from their screens.

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

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

Minions took second place with $45.6 million in its second weekend, bringing its domestic total to $210.1 million and worldwide cume to $399.9 million.

This summer’s “Top Gun: Maverick” took third place in its seventh weekend in theaters with $15.5 million. With its domestic total currently at $597.4 million, the Tom Cruise film is poised to surpass $600 million by Monday — one of only 12 films ever to do so.

In limited release, the documentary “Fire of Love” opened this weekend in three locations and earned an estimated $22,328, while Claire Denis’ “Both Sides of the Blade” earned $25,000 from four locations.

The weekend is expected to close with an estimated $236.1 million total, which Dergarabedian said is “really impressive.”

“Each week, the market becomes more pre-pandemic,” he said. “This looks like a traditional summer movie season weekend. It’s a huge difference from a year ago.”

The 2022 summer box office continues to look bright for both Hollywood and theater owners, up 217% from last summer. The year as a whole crossed the $4 billion mark last week, up 233% from last year, but still trailing the last grossing year before the pandemic, 2019, by 30%.

“Audiences are embracing the cinema experience with greater enthusiasm,” said Dergarabedian. “Until now, every population is interested in returning to the cinemas. The challenge for cinemas in the future is simply to have enough new films.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Thor: Love and Thunder,” $143 million.

2. “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” $45.6 million.

3. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $15.5 million.

4. “Elvis,” $11 million.

5. “Jurassic World: Dominion,” $8.4 million.

6. “The Black Phone,” $7.7 million.

7. “Lightyear,” $2.9 million.

8. “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” $340,000.

9. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” $262,000.

10. “Mr. Malcolm’s List,” $245,416.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of Marvel and this ABC station.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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