Marvel and Disney’s Thor: Love and Thunder added further fuel to the summer box office rally with a domestic opening of $143 million, the best showing of the standalone franchise starring Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-wielding superhero.
The pic opened in line with expectations in North America, where it scored the third-best opening of the pandemic era behind Spider-Man: No Way Home ($260 million) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($187.4 million).
Thor: Love and Thunder also did well overseas, earning $159 million from for a global start of $302 million.
The Disney and Marvel movie is a direct sequel to Thor: Ragnarok — both were directed by the maverick filmmaker Taika Waititi — and is the fourth entry in the Thor standalone franchise. It’s also the 29th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe empire of titles.
The Thor films have never been known for mega-openings. Ragnorok fared the best at $122.7 million in 2017. The first Thor debuted to $65.7 million in 2011, followed by $85.7 million for Thor: The Dark World in 2013.
Audiences gave Thor: Love and Thunder a B+ CinemaScore, compared to an A for Ragnorak.
The movie reunites Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, while franchise newcomers include Christian Bale. The cast also includes Tessa Thompson, Jaimie Alexander, Waititi and Russell Crowe.
The marquee is the most crowded it has been since COVID-19 struck, between Thor 4, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Top Gun: Maverick, Doctor Strange and Jurassic World Dominion, along others.
Estimated domestic revenue for the July 8-10 weekend is expected to hit $235 million — up 98 percent from last year when Black Widow opened and, more significantly, up 92 percent from 2019, months before the pandemic struck.
Minions 2 came in No. 2 in its second weekend with $45.6 million for a domestic total of $210.1 million and $399.9, already making it the most successful family title since the COVID-19 crisis struck.
Top Gun: Maverick stayed high up on the chart with $15.5 million for a domestic total of $597.4 million — it is now only days away of crossing $600 million — and $1.183 billion globally.
Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic Elvis earned $11 million domestically to place No. 4. It finished Sunday with domestic total of $91.2 million and $155.1 million globally.
Jurassic World 3 rounded out the top five with $8.1 million for a huge global haul of $826.5 million.
More to come.