“Thor: Love and Thunder” made $29 million at the box office Thursday in its early preview screenings that began at 3 pm It opens wide on 4,375 screens this weekend.
The fourth “Thor” film featuring Chris Hemsworth and from director Taika Waititi is poised for a massive opening weekend that should continue the hot start to July at the box office kicked off by “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” Independent trackers suggest “Love and Thunder” can reach an opening between $150-170 million, if not even above the $187 million launch of “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” since this May.
For a comparison, the “Doctor Strange” sequel in its Thursday showings, which also began at 3 pm, dazzled with $36 million, the 8th highest grossing total ever for a Thursday box office and what ultimately amounted to 19% of its total opening weekend . And hype is high for “Thor: Love and Thunder” after the critical success of the previous film in the franchise, “Thor: Ragnarok.” That movie in 2017 only began its previews at 7 pm but still made $14.5 million before it opened to $122 million.
The critical consensus for “Love and Thunder” however isn’t quite as high as its predecessor, with only a 69% Rotten Tomatoes, and it will be looking to stave off the same second weekend drop that “Doctor Strange 2” saw earlier this year and with some stiffer box office competition.
The $29 million for “Thor” is fifth largest for an MCU title and ties “Star Wars: Rogue One” for the 13th highest preview showing ever. It’s also the second highest Thursday preview number for the year behind only “Doctor Strange 2.” Some other comps include “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which made $28 million in previews and $191 million in its opening, and “Captain America: Civil War,” which did $25 million in previews and opened to $179 million. Though it’s worth noting that in some of those instances the word “previews” was more apt, as many screenings began far later in the evening than has been the case with more recent summer blockbuster releases.
“Thor: Love and Thunder” is directed by Waititi and sees the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) on a journey of self-discovery, only to be interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who seeks the extinction of the gods. To combat the threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi) and his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who now inexplicably wields his magical hammer from him, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor .
Internationally, “Thor: Love and Thunder” has so far made an estimated $48.6 million after it has now opened in 42 markets to date.