By Matthew Moorcroft
Despite a massive drop in it’s second weekend, Thor: Love and Thunder managed to win the weekend, but at what cost? Let’s break it down.
1 – Thor: Love and Thunder ($46.6 million)
While it’s $144.2 million opening was impressive, Thor: Love and Thunder has clearly struggled since then to maintain it’s initial audience. Falling a massive 68% in it’s second weekend of release, the film still managed to hold onto the number one though and has reached $233.9 million domestically thus far. Even a minor disappointment for the MCU is still great numbers – this is how powerful the brand is at this point in time.
Still, the film’s performance is rather lackluster especially when compared to Ragnarok, which had stellar holds and great word of mouth. It’s B+ cinemascore isn’t lying – Love and Thunder‘s lukewarm reception from audiences is being felt, and with the second MCU film in a row getting somewhat mixed reactions there is reason to worry about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in November when that drops.
Worldwide, the film has hit $499.9 million (just about to reach half a billion), and while it remains to be seen if it matches Ragnarok‘s numbers, $800 million is indeed in range which would put it as a success in Marvel’s book. Expect the inevitable Thor 5 to look widely different, however.
2 – Minions: The Rise of Gru ($26.8 million)
In better sequel news, the now meme-worthy Minions sequel yet still prequel The Rise of Gru has managed to stay in the number two spot, grossing another $26.8 million after a pretty good 42% drop. While it’s yet to be seen how far it will actually go (animated films post-pandemic have been hard to place), this is good numbers going forward for any future animated film to aspire to.
What’s most interesting though is that the film is performing pretty much identically to the original Minions back in 2015, meaning the same audience is likely showing up to this one despite it being seven years later. This healthy brand performance bodes well for not just Despicable Me 4, which is currently slated for a 2024 release, but also Illumination in general who have the Mario movie up next amidst a massive amount of speculation.
It’s numbers are currently at $534.3 million worldwide, so it still has a ways to go before it hits a billion like the original, but animated films tend to play the long game. More then likely, if it’s playing exactly like the original, it should hit it in no time flat and it would be a big win for animation on the big screen.
3 – Where the Crawdads Sing ($17.3 million)
The highly anticipated adaptation of the popular novel was the biggest new release of the weekend, and it ended up with an impressive opening haul. Initially projected to open anywhere from $8-10 million, early showings had it overperforming massively and adjustments were made to around $15 million, and it still ended up grossing more with it’s final tally being $17.3 million.
This is a big win for Sony, who has no other films out this summer in a rare move from the studio. Sony, who is likely still riding high from the success of No Way Home as well as dealing with the fallout of Morbius, has been pushing Crawdads smartly as counterprogramming for non-blockbuster audiences. And while it’s negative critical reception is evident, it’s A- on Cinemascore proves audiences are eating the picture up and propelled it to success.
Can it stay in the Top 5 by next week? Hard to say, as it’s likely much it’s initial audience came to see it opening weekend so it could drop massively going forward. Still, it’s low budget ensures a likely profit for this, and Sony’s big gamble of having only a single film this summer seems to have paid off. Great work!
4 – Top Gun: Maverick ($12.3 million)
Meanwhile, the big success story of the year with Maverick continues trucking along, as it enters it’s 8th weekend of release with a $12.3 million additional total to it’s domestic haul. With the lowest drop in the Top 5 at 21%, Maverick is still showing that audiences are coming back for more and more, which is giving the film tons of staying power.
It’s domestic haul, which is now at $618.2 million, is on track to enter the Top 10 all time domestic list, booting out The Last Jedi which stands at $620.2 million, and will likely also surpass The Avengers which stands at $623.4 million. Jurassic World will be tougher, as that film is at $653.4 million and Maverick is about to face some heavy competition for the adult audience with Nope, but we will see how close it gets.
Worldwide, the film is at $1.238 billion, which puts it in the Top 20 of all time worldwide behind Incredibles 2 at $1.242 billion. It’s gonna be interesting to see how far it goes, and it’s unlikely to reach the Top 10 at this rate as it would require an extra $300 million but it will be fun to see how far it actually goes. At this point, it’s just a race to see how much it actually does make.
5 – Elvis ($8 million)
Dropping a respectable 28% in it’s fourth week of release, Elvis grossed another $8 million and finally surpassed the $100 million mark, landing at $106.6 million domestically. The holds for Elvis have been stellar thus far, as Baz Luhrmann’s sleeper hit has managed to grab older audiences in a big way as great counter-programming.
With it’s numbers at $186.4 million worldwide, the film should likely reach $200 million within the next week which would be a great number for the film, as well as continue Luhrmann’s trend started with The Great Gatsby of making movies that are popular despite being mid-budget, glossy dramas. Elvis at least has the advantage of being a biopic, and while it’s international numbers aren’t amazing they aren’t bad either thanks to great word of mouth.
These great box office numbers should help going into awards season as well, where Austin Butler and the film itself are likely to be early frontrunners. And while we still have many more moons of films to go off of, it’s a great sign when critics are already singing the praises of the film in the mid-seasonal awards.
Elsewhere in the Top 10, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank finally debuted after numerous delays and a troubled production that sees all of the wait not really pay off. Opening at #6 with $6.3 million, it’s low opening is to be expected of a lesser tier animated film, and one that was marketed so poorly despite some better expected reception from critics and audiences.
Still, Paramount shouldn’t worry too much about it. While it’s a bomb in theaters, the film will make up it’s business on streaming on Paramount+, and Top Gun: Maverick is making more then enough for the studio to make up the difference. Are we surprised this bombed though? My guess is no.