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Marvel's 'Thor' nabs $143M despite mixed reviews: 'The bar has been set a lot higher'

·Senior Reporter
·3 min read

Marvel is back at the box office.

"Thor: Love and Thunder," the fourth installment of the Chris Hemsworth-led franchise, secured $143 million at the domestic box office this past weekend, according to Disney (DIS) estimates — just below industry forecasts of $150 million.

Although it was not the most successful Marvel debut of the year ("Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" secured $187 million in its opening weekend), "Love and Thunder" did manage to lock in the best debut of any other "Thor" film with a global haul of $302 million.

(Courtesy: Marvel Studios)
(Courtesy: Marvel Studios)

Despite strong ticket sales, lukewarm reviews have soured the film's public perception with a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 67%. Furthermore, Marvel films typically see a drop-off of more than 60% between week 1 and week 2 — casting doubt that "Thor" has more room to run in theaters.

Still, industry watchers don't seem too concerned.

Box Office Pro chief analyst Shawn Robbins said the results represent a "resounding win," adding that "expectations were a little bit in flux" given the film's marketing as more of a comedy rather than a "mega event" like the recent "Dr. Strange" or last year's "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

"For a standalone 'Thor' movie to come out and deliver this kind of number in the middle of a very crowded market is a great result," Robbins continued, explaining that it's the last all-audience movie "for awhile" as the summer blockbuster season begins to slow.

"Marvel really has the rest of summer to attract an audience with 'Thor' so even though we'll have that big sharp drop off initially, it should stabilize pretty soon after."

"Thor" joins last week's "Minions" as the first pair of films to open over $100 million domestically on consecutive weekends since June 2018 — "a fantastic benchmark to reach again during the pandemic recovery period," Robbins said.

Marvel 'fans are spoiled'

"Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" (Courtesy: Disney / Marvel)
"Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" (Courtesy: Disney / Marvel)

Despite optimism, there's no denying that Marvel films have slipped — at least from a critic standpoint.

Including "Thor," three of the last four Marvel films have scored a CinemaScore below an "A."

Robbins explained that there could be a few reasons for this, citing the pandemic impact to Marvel's release schedule, in addition to a greater surge in Marvel-related content on Disney+.

But perhaps one under-the-radar reason could be the expectation for better.

"Fans are spoiled now after having that great run of movies leading up to 'Infinity War,' 'Endgame' and 'Spider-Man: No Way Home,'" Robbins said.

"The bar has been set a lot higher than it's ever been for Marvel and I think that increases expectations."

Overall, the analyst said the Marvel franchise is "definitely not in danger" but did note that it will be a slow build as fans await the next big storyline to take audiences through the next 10 years.

Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Food Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at alexandra.canal@yahoofinance.com

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