Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder–Ruling Box-Office

‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Rules Again as ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ Beats Expectations

thor 4 kiss
Jasin Boland / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / © Marvel Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection
Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder fended off three new nationwide releases to remain the No. 1 movie in North America.

Though ticket sales for “Thor” cratered in its second weekend, falling by 68% to $46 million from 4,375 theaters, the latest installment in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It easily towered over a trio of newcomers: Sony’s literary adaptation “Where the Crawdads Sing,” Paramount’s animated “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” and the Focus Features period drama “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris.”

After 10 days on the big screen, “Love and Thunder” has generated $232 million at the domestic box office.

For “Thor,” the fourth superhero adventure to spotlight Chris Hemsworth as the Asgardian god with abs that won’t quit, a massive 68% decline from its $145 million debut is signaling the movie is not breaking out beyond the comic book empire’s fanbase.

Though “Love and Thunder” will certainly end its box office run with a tidy sum, it’s never a good sign when a film of “Thor’s” size and scope loses the majority of its audience after opening weekend. It’s one of the biggest second-weekend drops in MCU history. By comparison, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” tumbled 67% in its sophomore outing (though the film ultimately amassed a mighty $411 million domestically), while other recent entries like “Eternals” dipped 61% and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” fell 52%.

Where the Crawdads Sing debuted in third place with better-than-expected $17 million from 3,650 cinemas, easily the best start among newcomers. That’s an impressive start for this kind of movie, especially at a time when television has become a haven for literary favorites. And Sony spent just $24 million to produce the film so it won’t be impossible to turn a profit.

“In past years, dramas of all kinds were a workhorse genre,” says David A. Gross, who runs movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “But attendance patterns have changed and most of these stories are now produced for the small screen. That makes this opening particularly good.”

Critics and audiences had vastly different reactions to Where the Crawdads Sing, which holds a bleak 36% on Rotten Tomatoes but a solid “A-” CinemaScore from moviegoers. With positive word-of-mouth, however, the movie has the potential to stand out to people who aren’t familiar with the best-selling book by Delia Owens.

Directed by Olivia Newman, the story follows a young girl named Kya (starring Daisy Edgar-Jones from “Normal People” and “Fresh”), who grows up alone in a North Carolina marsh and later is engulfed in a murder trial of former love interest. Reese Witherspoon produced the movie, which features new song from Taylor Swift called “Carolina.”

Paws of Fury fell short of estimates, landing at No. 6 with dismal $6.25 million from 3,475 North American locations. The kids’ movie, which is loosely inspired by the 1974 Mel Brooks film “Blazing Saddles,” is rare blemish for Paramount in 2022. The studio has otherwise enjoyed a stellar box office run with “The Lost City,” “Scream,” “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and “Top Gun: Maverick.” Luckily, Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Animation acquired the PG “Paws of Fury” for $10 million.

Though ticket buyers seemed to like “Paws of Fury,” which scored an “A-” CinemaScore, the film struggled to hold its own against Universal and Illumination’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which landed in second place on box office charts with $26 million from 4,114 theaters. After three weeks of release, the “Minions” sequel has remained the choice for family audiences and has grossed $262 million to date. The movie has generated another $270 million at the international box office, taking its global tally to $532.7 million.

Top Gun: Maverick took fourth place, scoring $12 million in its eighth weekend of release, marking a scant 23% decline. With $617 million in the bank and no signs of slowing down, “Top Gun: Maverick” will soon pass “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” ($620 million) and “The Avengers” ($623 million) to rank among the top 10 highest-grossing films in domestic box office history.

The longevity of “Maverick’s” box office: Since opening in theaters over Memorial Day weekend, the film has remained in the top five on weekend charts and hasn’t dropped more than 40% on a weekly basis.