‘Thor 4’ Falls Record 68% But Nears $500 Million Worldwide

Thor: Love and Thunder topped the box office in its second weekend, earning another $46 million for a new $232 million ten-day total. That’s A) a whopping 68% drop from its $144 million Fri-Sun launch (counting $29 million in Thursday previews) and B) precisely enough of a drop for Thor 4 to avoid the $100 million losers club. Still, -68% would be bad for any big comic book superhero movie, closer in spirit to Batman & Robin (-64% way back in 1997 after a then-huge $43 million debut) than The Batman (-50% after a $134 million debut earlier this year). Is this a sign of trouble on the horizon for the MCU? So far, no. It’s still on the path to pass $300 million domestic and $700 million worldwide.

The film got middling (for Marvel) reviews and word-of-mouth. It just took a record-sized second-weekend drop for an MCU movie, just above the 67% plunges for Doctor Strange 2 (from a $187 million debut), Spider-Man: No Way Home (off a $260 million launch) and Black Widow (from an $80 million launch with Disney+ Premier Access muddying up the waters). However, almost every mid-July MCU movie (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Black Widow) took massive-for-Marvel second-weekend hits and two of those (the ones not on Disney+ concurrently) recovered and legged out over the summer. We’ll see if Thor 4 earns closer to 1.6x its ten-day total (like Ant-Man 2 and Spider-Man 1 version 3.0) or closer to 1.4x its ten-day total (like Black Widow, Doctor Strange 2 and Eternals).

Factors are working against it, like mixed reviews, word-of-mouth, and awareness that the Taika Waititi-directed film will be on Disney+ after 45 days. However, it’s not like the movie got reviews and buzz on par with Morbius. The good news is that the film is the last live-action “big movie for kids” until the Avatar rerelease on September 23 or Black Adam on October 21. Unless Jordan Peele’s Nope, David Leitch’s Bullet Train or Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling turn out to be fun for the whole family (and not just cool families like mine), the closest thing to demographic competition will be Warner Bros. Discovery’s DC League of Super-Pets on July 29. Oh god, the irony if a DC animated film opens big *and* undercuts Disney’s big MCU sequel.

Even if it only legs as well as Black Widow from this point forward, it’s still going to earn around $325 million domestic, or better than Thor: Ragnarok ($315 million in 2017/$321 million adjusted for inflation). If it legs closer to Spider-Man: Homecoming, it’ll end with up over/under The Batman’s $370 million domestic cume. Considering this is the fourth Thor and doesn’t bring much new to the table (“Jane Foster is back but now also as Thor” isn’t as big of a hook as the Internet might assume), Thor 4 only earning about as much as Thor 3 isn’t exactly a catastrophe. Just because Spider-Man: No Way Home soared to infinity and beyond doesn’t mean Ant-Man and the Wasp didn’t “only” gross $620 million right after Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.

With $498 million worldwide, it’ll pass $500 million global tomorrow and zoom past Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($505 million) this week. It’s worth remembering that Thor: Ragnarok earned $854 million in 2017, which was seen as an unquestionable win alongside Spider-Man: Homecoming ($881 million) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($869 million). That figure sans China and Russia would be around $715 million. Budget and pre-Covid expectations aside, Thor 4 earning about as much globally as Thor 3 isn’t a sign that Marvel is about to implode. Even if it ends up closer to Ant-Man and the Wasp, Spider-Man: No Way Home cracked $1.9 billion, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earned $955 million, the third biggest “no Iron Man and no Spider-Man” MCU grosser ever.

If Black Panther: Wakanda Forever gets mixed reviews and ends up closer to $600 million than $900 million (think a drop on par with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom but sans China and Russia), and if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. performs likewise next summer, then we can panic. I still think the Disney+ television shows are threatening to dilute the brand. The “available on Disney+ in 45 days” factor isn’t helping repeat viewings or encouraging the casually curious to check it out. However, thus far, Marvel is still Marvel. These are still huge numbers by any rational standard. Unless you expect every solo MCU movie to crack $1 billion, and that’s dumb, the MCU is the only part of post-Iger Disney that’s still acting like Iger-era Disney.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2022/07/17/movies-box-office-thor-love-and-thunder-record-68-percent-drop-500m-worldwide-marvel-disney-hemsworth-portman-waititi/