In news that shocked absolutely no one, Thor: Love & Thunder dominated the box office this weekend, AP News is reporting. With a take of $143 million, it was the best opening in the Thor series to date (not counting the character’s Avengers films). It also further solidified Marvel’s status as a seemingly unstoppable force of pop culture nature, with the franchise showing no signs of slowing down.
Some might try to claim that “superhero fatigue” or “Marvel burnout” is becoming an issue among audiences, but those people aren’t paying attention to the numbers. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, despite some trying to paint it as a financial failure because it didn’t make as much money as Spider-Man: No Way Home, actually nearly doubled the domestic gross of the first Doctor Strange back in 2016, and is currently standing with a total of more than $400 million. It also scored more than two million views on Disney+ in its first week alone. In other words, Marvel is still a consistent money-maker, and those who say otherwise are either missing the big picture or holding each individual movie to impossible standards.
Thor: Love & Thunder is proving to be no different, with critics (mostly) leaning positive with a score on Rotten Tomatoes of 67% “Fresh” over there. Disney once again ran a fantastic marketing campaign for a Marvel outing, with trailers emphasizing the more comedic tone and 80s-inspired action scenes. Bringing back fan favorite Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and giving her a larger role was also a big plus, along with the promise of Guardians of the Galaxy cameos. If there’s anything that might keep Thor from being truly mighty, it’s a hefty $250 million price tag, but with $300 million already in the bank worldwide–not to mention no major tentpoles coming out next weekend (unless Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank really overperforms)–it should be fine.
It will be interesting to see how Black Panther: Wakanda Forever does when it opens in November, as that is really a question mark as far as audience interest for it goes. Following the tragic passing of star Chadwick Boseman in 2020, will filmgoers flock to a blockbuster essentially centered on that film’s supporting cast? Time will tell.
In the meantime, the Minions are continuing to enjoy a very strong run, with a gross of more than $200 million after just two weekends in theaters. Less lucky has been Lightyear, which just can’t maintain its rocket fuel at the box office. It has a total of $112 million after four weekends. Illumination wins this round over Pixar.
Finally, in limited release, Marvel the Shell with Shoes On made it into the top ten while playing on just 45 screens. The critically acclaimed movie about a talking stop-motion seashell is set to go wide soon.