The good news is that Disney/Marvel's Thor: Love and Thunder is delivering another $100M+ opening for the resurging theatrical business with overall weekend ticket sales estimated to be around $244M, which is 33% ahead of the same post Independence Day weekend in 2019 when Sony and the Marvel Cinematic Universe had Spider-Man: Far From Home leading all movies to a $183.8M take. If summer has proven anything, it's that it's not just superhero movies that work on the big screen. Even with a big whale like Thor 4 on the marquee, there's four movies overall grossing over $10M+ this weekend.
Thor: Love and Thunder is seeing $69.5M opening Friday on its way to a weekend that's between $135M-$145M, 37% of that driven by premium large format screens, reports Deadline.
Also driving sales are the top exhibitors' upcharge on Thor: Love and Thunder. EntTelligence shows that between preview night and Friday for the pic, AMC was charging an average of $15.05 and Regal $14.40 for Thor 4 compared to the national average of $13.48. Only Cinemark was below that with an average ticket price of $12.25.
That's easily the best opening for a Taika Waititi directed movie, a Thor movie and a Natalie Portman film (her previous high being Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith at $108M). The pic will wind up as the third best domestic opening of 2022 after Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($187.4M) and Jurassic World Dominion ($145M). There's nothing to complain about here, even if Thor is outside its projections of $140M-$160M because it's a $100M+ opening! A year ago at this time, Disney was diluting the box office of Black Widow with the theatrical day-and-date Disney+ release of Black Widow ($80.3M opening), so we've come a long a way.
However, on the downside, and hopefully this doesn't slow Thor: Love and Thunder's momentum today or for that matter for the rest of the summer, but Marvel earns a back-to-back B+ CinemaScore after Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits for general audiences is still sitting at 3 1/2 stars with a 77% positive, not far from Eternals' 75%. If you take Sony's Spider-Man: No Way Home, which got an A+ from audiences, out of the equation, that's three Bs in a row from Disney/MCU going back to November's Eternals (B). What's going on here? Why the worn down audience reactions? Is Marvel overextending itself in pumping out the multitude of series for Disney+ and the movies? Do we blame the pandemic production rush here? (Marvel did have a big winner with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings which was made during Covid and landed an A and eased the industry's that moviegoing wasn't lost when audiences came back over Labor Day weekend last year). Is it Waititi's absurdist sense of humor? Or is it more so that this particular sequel doesn't dote on the greater multiverse motif which the latest phase of the MCU laid down with Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange 2? This is more of a wake-up call to the MCU development department because if projects become too cookie-cutter, ticket sales will decline, read Eternals being one of the lower openings stateside for a Marvel movie at $71.2M. Marvel had the magic touch of churning out both audience pleasing and critically acclaimed blockbuster films.
Social media analytics corp RelishMix, of course, anticipated this audience's attitude toward Thor: Love and Thunder before opening.
"Energy levels and tone run wildly mixed leaning positive — as Thor chatter has returned to pre-pandemic cynicism, playfulness and criticism from the MCU. Some wonder if this is a comedy while others explain that this project swings from superhero to Taika Waititi-land improv playfulness. Other threads question if Chris Hemsworth's is being overshadowed alone with adoration of the role, love for Christian Bale and talk about Natalie Portman's gender bending role."
The Disney machine on social media was in full effect here for Thor: Love and Thunder with a rare reach of 1.3 billion across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. MCU stars leading the promo charge online include Chris Hemsworth with 82.4M fans, Chris Pratt at 56.9M, Dave Bautista at 14.1M, Portman at 8M and Waititi at 4.6M.
The best scores here for Thor: Love and Thunder is coming from women over 25 at 82% positive, the third biggest demo for the movie at 24% after Men over 25 (33%) and men under 25 (26%). Diversity demos were 39% Caucasian, a great 28% Hispanic and Latino turnout, 16% African American and 13% Asian.
On the bright side through Friday, 53% of those who saw Thor: Love and Thunder bought their tickets the day when they saw the movie, which of course indicates, a hearty walk-up business. While Thor: Love and Thunder is playing extremely well coast to coast, the West and Southwest are the most prominent.
A big hooray to Universal which has Illumination Entertainment's Minions: The Rise of Gru crossing $200M this weekend, the sixth movie to do so this year. The Chris Melendandri production is seeing a 56% second weekend ease for $47.2M and an expected $211.7M ten-day cume by EOD Sunday.
Meanwhile, Paramount/Skydance's Top Gun: Maverick by Sunday will be $3.5M away from crossing $600M, becoming one of a dozen movies to do so at the domestic box office. The Tom Cruise movie's 7th weekend is $14.6M, -44%, for a $596.5M cume by EOD Sunday.
Give it up for Warner Bros.' Elvis which will be the second, non-franchise adult-demo mass-appealing title to cross $100M soon, after Paramount's adventure romantic comedy The Lost City at $105.3M. The Baz Luhrmann directed musical biopic's third Friday came in at $3.3M, -38% from a week ago, on its way to an estimated $11M third weekend, -40% for a $91.1M. This is an important milestone for the domestic box office. Producers have become use to the idea of making their money by selling adult titles to streamers. That and the fact that often a streamer will make a movie on a bigger budget than a motion picture studio. Elvis proves that not everybody wants to watch non-superhero movies at home alone. It's going to be a long desert at the theatrical marketplace until Disney/Marvel's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever delivers the next $100M+ weekend opening. The next three months of wide releases for the major studios are an array of mid-budget movies with the pressure of making them event-sized releases.
1.) Thor: Love and Thunder (Disney) 4,375 theaters, Fri. $69.5M, 3-day $135M-$145M/Wk 1
2.) Minions: Rise of Gru (Uni) 4,427 theaters (+36), Fri $14.4M (-70%), 3-day $47.2M (-56%), Total: $211.7M/Wk 2
3.) Top Gun: Maverick (Par) 3,513 (-330) theaters, Fri $4.4M (-38%), 3-day $14.6M (-44%), Total $596.5M/Wk 6
4.) Elvis (WB) 3,714 theaters (-218), Fri $3.3M (-38%), 3-day $11M (-40%) Total $91.1M/Wk 3
5.) Jurassic World Dominion (Uni) 3,251 (-550) theaters, Fri $2.35M (-50%), 3-day $8.1M (-50%), Total $350M/Wk 5
6.) The Black Phone (Uni) 2,559 (-597) theaters, Fri $2.34M (-41%) 3-day $7.45M (-39%)/Total $62.1M: Wk 3