Thor: Love and Thunder, a movie from Marvel and Walt Disney, got off to a, um, thunderous start at the domestic box office on Thursday, bringing in $29 million in previews. That is the second-best preview gross of the year, after Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which made $36 million. This MCU sequel, which was directed by Sam Raimi and had previews on Thursday, made $90 million on Friday and $187 million from Friday to Sunday in the United States. If Thor 4 by Taika Waititi does the same thing, it could make $73 million on Friday and $151 million on its first weekend. Even if the mixed (for Marvel) reviews (69 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and (so far) word of mouth make the beginning even more frontloaded, that would be a little surprising to me.
Mixed word, like the idea that it’s an unimportant MCU chapter, and the fact that it’ll probably be “free” on Disney+ after the first 45 days may hurt the movie’s legs after it comes out. But I think people who wanted to see it before the reviews came out will still go see it this weekend. Even though I didn’t like it, online chatter may have made people think that bad things happen more often. We’re still dealing with a sequel to a popular franchise that gets an average of “three stars” from critics. Thor: Love and Thunder, starring Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, and Tessa Thompson, is the last new live-action four-quadrant movie for kids until Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson, comes out on October 21 from DC Films.
— Thor: Love and Thunder News (@lovethundernews) May 24, 2022
With a Thursday-to-weekend multiplier like Doctor Strange 2, The Dark Knight Rises ($160 million from a $30.5 million Thursday-at-midnight gross in July 2012), and Spider-Man: No Way Home ($260 million/$50 million in 2021), Thor: Love and Thunder could make over or under $155 million for the weekend. Legs closer to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ($177 million/$40 million in 2019), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II ($141 million/$30 million in 2012), or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II ($169 million/$43 million in 2011) brings it to between $115 million and $135 million. But if Thor 4 has legs like The Batman ($134 million/$22 million in 2022) or Black Widow ($80 million/$13 million in 2021), it will make over/under $175 million in its first weekend.
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Thor: Ragnarok opened with $123 million in November 2017, before people for some reason expected every MCU movie to break all related box office records. Even a jump on par with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146 million from $94 million) would get Thor 4 to $191 million, which is almost the same as Doctor Strange 2’s best-case scenario opening weekend. It would make $167 million if it had the same jump as Iron Man 3 ($174 million from $128 million), and it would still make $159 million if it had the same jump as Ant-Man and the Wasp ($58 million seven years ago to $75 million four years ago). We shouldn’t assume that every MCU standalone will open with $175–200 million just because Black Panther did it in early 2018.
Marvel Studios’ #ThorLoveAndThunder is “The best Thor film yet.”
— Thor (@thorofficial) July 7, 2022
Even though Black Panther and Captain Marvel were the first two Marvel movies that didn’t star Tony Stark to make $1 billion, that doesn’t mean that all of them will. Even without Russia and China, Doctor Strange 2’s $950 million gross is still Marvel’s biggest without Iron Man or Spider-Man. Even if Love and Thunder made $715 million, which would tie it with Ragnarok if not for China’s $112 million and Russia’s $24 million, that would be fine. This is especially true if most people who go to the movies like it more than the critics and/or people who are always online. Either way, as I said about Eternals, which I didn’t like, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which I did, Marvel needs to keep making movies that aren’t all the same, even if some of them aren’t as popular or well-liked.