Box Office Wrap Up: Thor Leaves Critics Thunderstruck.
Thor Ragnarok impressed critics and viewer on its way to the top spot at the weekend box office.
It’s hardly a surprise that a Marvel movie is the biggest film of the weekend. What may be a shock is the glowing praise being heaped upon the god of thunder, who had previously been the least beloved of the core Avengers. Director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) took the prince of Asgard in a new direction and was rewarded with plaudits and plunder. The rest of the box office? Well, it wasn’t quite as rosy.
This Week in Box Office History.
Thor 3 helped push the box office to a strong November start…but it was by no means groundbreaking. November has been a powerhouse month in the last decade with franchises like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Twilight helping to push the total into the billion dollar range. As has been the theme lately, the storm surge caused by Disney films is just not helping to lift any other boats. There is still a glaring lack of an animated hit this year, and only super heroes seem to be making any splash. We’re entering an era where you have to make your film on a shoestring budget (helping to explain the glut of well-made horror movies) or have a dude in a red cape leading your line-up or else you are in for some hurt.
The weekend box was up 178% over last week (which we missed reporting on…sorry) and was up 24% from last year. These figures are a touch misleading. Both last week and last year were technically still in October, which has not had the big boost that November has seen. In fact, October is becoming a bit of a dog, most likely because people are saving their acorns for when the big blockbusters come out in November.
Top Three Movies.
Thor: Ragnarok led the weekend with a US take of 122 million dollars. That is heads and shoulders above the first two Thor movies, but only good enough for the 7th biggest opening for a Marvel movie. The good news is that Thor 3 has had a terrific time with critics. This adds to strong polling from audiences to hint that Ragnarok may have better than average longevity. Another great bit of news for Disney is that the film set the record for November releases in China, and has crushed foreign ticket sales like a bug.
Second place went to Bad Mom’s Christmas with 17 million dollars. The film released early in the week and drew heavily from female viewers. While this is smart counter-programming, it remains to be seen how well it will pay off in the long run. The film is 6 million dollars behind the debut of the first movie, and needs to have staying power to equal the original.
The third spot went to Jigsaw, which earned 6 million more dollars in its second weekend. The film is a financial success, due to a tight budget of 10 million dollars. As far as SAW movies go, it’s the second weakest opening. The dissolution of the franchise apparently has not been halted by waiting seven years, and I think the studio would be foolish to take this as a green-light to keep pumping them out.
The other new release, LBJ, had a lackluster weekend. It fell outside of the top ten and fell short of 2 million dollars despite showing in nearly 700 theaters. The bright side is that critical response to Woody Harrelson’s performance as Johnson and Rob Reiner’s role as director would indicate potential Oscar nominations. If that is the case, this film could limp around for a month and then suddenly see a resurgence when the awards ceremonies announce.
Top Ten Movies.
1. Thor: Ragnarok (122.7)
2. A Bad Moms Christmas (16.7)
3. Jigsaw (6.5)
4. Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (4.5)
5. Geostorm (3.1)
6. Happy Death Day (2.6)
7. Blade Runner 2049 (2.3)
8. Thank You for Your Service (2.2)
9. Only the Brave (1.9)
10. Let There Be Light (1.6)