Funny Thor is apparently still "must see" Thor, if this weekend's box office is any indication.
Even with final figures not official until Monday, Thor: Ragnarok will easily become Marvel Studios' 17th consecutive movie to debut at number one at the box office in its opening weekend -- making the studio's streak of chart-toppers unbroken since the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched in 2008 with Iron Man.
As we write this, the God of Thunder's third solo movie was estimated to earn somewhere between $120 million and $122 million from just over 4,000 screens in its first three days on the market. It raked in nearly $47 million on Friday alone (including $14.5 million in Thursday night previews) and has also grossed more than $300 million overseas, where it rolled out two weeks earlier.
Not only did Thor: Ragnarok leave the estimated $20 million earned by the week's only other wide release -- A Bad Moms Christmas -- far, far behind, but it walloped its own predecessors as well: 2010's Thor took in $65.7 million during its opening weekend, while 2013's Thor: The Dark World vacuumed up $85.7 million. The new movie has pulverized all that.
Thor: Ragnarok is Marvel's third $100 million opening of 2017 alone -- a first in box-office history for a production studio -- and has brought the MCU's total worldwide earnings to $13 billion. The film may also have the 4th best overall opening of the year to date and the 7th best all-time opening in the month of November. If the current figures hold, the movie will have the second best superhero opening of the year, behind Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's $146.5 million (Spider-Man: Homecoming and Wonder Woman follow with $117 million and $103 million respectively). It will be interesting to see where Justice League lands in that tally when it arrives in two weeks.
The monster box office for Thor: Ragnarok has lined up nicely with critical and fan reaction as well. Critics gave the movie a 94% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes -- the best showing for a Thor movie by far -- while it notched an "A" with audiences on CinemaScore, also the highest mark for a Thor movie on that survey and Marvel's 12th "A" rating.
What does this all mean? A few things. Once again, the Marvel brand is just about unbeatable -- that logo in front of a movie promises quality, fun, and superhero spectacle. The marketing of the movie, which featured the gladiator battle between Thor and Hulk as its centerpiece, also worked perfectly. And it seems like audiences really missed both those characters, neither of whom has been seen in theaters for two and a half years (since 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron).
Finally, Marvel's big risk -- turning the third Thor adventure into an all-out comedy, and a weird one at that -- was a roll of the dice that appears to have paid off handsomely. Although the studio's critics tend to call Marvel out for the supposed sameness of its product, Thor: Ragnarok was something very different from most of its previous outings. Marvel's next release, the Afrocentric Black Panther, will represent another bold new direction for the studio as well. We suspect that we'll be writing a similar story when that picture comes out in February, but for now, Thor: Ragnarok is making it clear that audiences are still ready to make theirs Marvel.
Did you go to see Thor: Ragnarok this past weekend? What did you think? How does it stack up for you next to the other Thor and Marvel movies?