Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Love and Thunder” is shaping up to be a frontloaded blockbuster at the box office, falling 68% from its $144 million opening weekend for a second weekend total of $46 million from 4,375 theaters.
The sharp drop is one that has been shared by almost every film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as “Black Widow,” “Eternals” and “Doctor Universe in the Multiverse of Madness also fell 67-68% in their second weekends. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” also fell 68%, but that’s to be expected after a historic $260 million opening, and it didn’t stop the film from legging out over Christmas to over $800 million domestic and $1.9 billion worldwide.
“Love and Thunder” won’t be the same. While its estimated 10-day total of $232 million is still higher than the $217 million of “Thor: Ragnarok,” that November 2017 film had a higher second weekend of $57 million. Just last month, “Jurassic World: Dominion” had a higher second frame with $59 million after opening to $145 million.
With a global total that will pass $500 million on Monday, “Love and Thunder” will still be a box office success for Disney. But these weak holdovers are bad news for theaters which are looking at several months without a major box office title to boost turnout. There was hope that a long run from “Thor” would help mitigate the expected revenue downturn in August, but such hopes may be dashed as the Marvel film has not achieved the “can’t-miss” status of past installments or of the year’s biggest film, “Top Gun: Maverick.”
The sole newcomer to the top five is Sony/3000 Pictures’ “Where the Crawdads Sing,” which is third on the charts with a $17 million opening from 3,650 theaters. Though critics weren’t impressed by the adaptation of Delia Owens’ drama novel with a 37% Rotten Tomatoes score, the book’s fans embraced it with an A- on CinemaScore and ratings of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and 87% positive on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak.
As expected, the film’s audience skewed significantly female with 74% women and should be able to turn a modest profit with a reported production budget of $24 million.
Outside the top five, Paramount’s “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” hasn’t gained much of a foothold with family audiences with a $6.2 million opening from 3,475 theaters. That puts it in the No. 6 spot, below both pre-weekend projections for a $9-$10 million start as well as the $26 million third weekend total earned by Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which now stands at $262.5 million domestic and $532.7 million worldwide.
The good news for Paramount is that the break-even point is low as the studio only paid a $10 million acquisition fee to GFM Animation. Audiences scores stand at A- on CinemaScore but just 66% positive on PostTrak. “Paws of Fury” will likely have a short shelf-life as Warner Bros.’ “DC League of Super Pets” is set to open in two weeks.
The last newcomer is Focus Features’ “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” which opened in a targeted release of 980 theaters and grossed $1.9 million. Like fellow Focus release “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” the film’s audience has heavily skewed older with 44% over the age of 55, but reception has been strong with Rotten Tomatoes score of 93% critics and 96% audience. At a time when few specialty films are gaining traction, “Mrs. Harris” will try to build word of mouth among older, coastal moviegoers.
Speaking of older audiences, the over-45 crowd has pushed Warner Bros.’ “Elvis” past the $100 million domestic mark with $7.6 million in its fourth weekend, giving it a total of $106.2 million. The Baz Luhrmann biopic was a gamble with its $85 million budget, but that gamble has paid off as it’s now turning a decent profit in its theatrical run.
Finally, Paramount/Skydance’s “Top Gun: Maverick” is on the doorstep of becoming one of the top 10 highest grossing domestic films ever. On Monday, the film will pass “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” with over $620 million grossed in North America and then will pass the $623 million total of “The Avengers” to take the No. 9 all-time spot later this week. Globally, the blockbuster has grossed $1.23 billion after eight weekends.