- The third Thor movie had the biggest opening weekend of the franchise.
- Its success continues the dominance Disney/Marvel has at the box office in November.
Marvel/Disney is celebrating another dominant box office performance. The third movie in the Thor franchise, “Thor: Ragnarok,” won the weekend and gave a jolt to the recently stagnant North American box office with an estimated $121 million opening weekend, according to The Wrap.
It’s almost unheard of in Hollywood for a successful franchise to suddenly change course, but that’s exactly what Marvel did with “Ragnarok”, and its proved to be the perfect move.
After two movies that had impressive worldwide box office earnings — 2011’s “Thor” with $449.3 million and 2013’s “Thor: The Dark World” with $644.5 million — it seemed the franchise was like anything Marvel Studios makes: a cash cow.
And perhaps that made it easier to go forward with making a third movie that was different in tone than the previous two, but the decision to turn “Ragnarok” into a weird comedy that’s centered mostly on Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) trying to get off a rouge planet has performed far beyond the opening weekends of its two previous titles (“Thor” opened at $65.7 million, “The Dark World” $85.7 million).
Indications that Marvel made the right decision was evident very quickly. Director Taika Waititi’s comedic style was a hit for critics, which gave the movie a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes (it was in the high 90s leading up to its opening day). That led to “Ragnarok” scoring $14.5 million in Thursday preview screenings.
Things only got better for the God of Thunder. The movie, which is playing on just over 4,000 screens, earned $46.8 million its opening day (including preview screening sales). That followed with around $40 million on Saturday, with many of the Thursday preview crowd actually returning to see it again, according to Deadline.
“Ragnarok” continues the dominance by Marvel/Disney in the month of November. Last year it was the combination of “Doctor Strange” and “Moana” that brought audiences out of their binge watching habits and into the multiplexes. This November is likely going to be the tandem of “Ragnarok” and “Coco,” the upcoming release by Pixar opening on Thanksgiving.
“A Bad Moms Christmas” scored a distant second place, with $17 million for the weekend. The sequel — featuring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, and Susan Sarandon — received a dismal 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.