The Battle for the Box Office is always fun to watch during the summer months. Especially when you have a new Marvel Studios movie debuting in theaters! As always, we turn to the phenomenal The Numbers for the latest in box office projections.
Marvel Studios’ newest offering Thor: Love and Thunder rolled out in theaters over the weekend. Early projections had Thor: Love and Thunder making between $150-200 million in its opening weekend. Thor’s latest movie missed those estimates by coming in at a projected $143 million domestic box office. Still, this was more than enough for Thor: Love and Thunder to grab first place at the box office with very little competition.
Minions: The Rise of Gru took a very distant second place with $45.5 million at the domestic box office. This was a 57% decrease over the opening weekend which was far better than Lightyear’s 64% decrease in its second week. Minions: The Rise of Gru is now at a $399 million worldwide box office. Given the small $80 million production budget, Universal is looking at making a nice profit off of this movie.
Top Gun: Maverick took third place with $15.5 million at the domestic box office. Tom Cruise’s blockbuster hit continues to have incredible legs as it is now in its seventh week in theaters. Top Gun: Maverick is now at 1.14 billion at the worldwide box office. Simply amazing. This was also without China. It looks like no movie has the legs to challenge Top Gun: Maverick.
Elvis took fourth place with $11 million at the domestic box office. This brings Elvis’ worldwide box office to $155 million by its third week in the box office. Warner Bros needs this movie to have some staying power. The budget was $85 million. Throw on top of that an estimated marketing budget of around $40 million. Warner Bros is going to need Elvis to make $250 million at the worldwide box office in order to break even.
Jurassic World: Dominion took fifth place with $8.4 million at the domestic box office. This brings Jurassic World: Dominion’s worldwide box office to $876 million in its fifth week in theaters. I do not think that Jurassic World: Dominion is going to catch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But, this newest installment of Jurassic World is continuing to make Universal some good money.
Lightyear failed to make the Top 5 in just its fourth week in theaters. In fact, Lightyear came in at seventh place behind the indie horror movie The Black Phone. Again. How embarrassing for Pixar. Lightyear brought in $2.9 million at the domestic box office. Lightyear’s worldwide box office is now at an abysmal $204 million in its fourth week in theaters.
Given the production budget and the marketing budget, Lightyear needs to earn $600 million in order for Disney to break even. Right now, Disney is looking at a brutal loss on this film. I do not see how Lightyear can match the prior two biggest Pixar bombs in Cars 3 ($383 million worldwide box office) and The Good Dinosaur ($333 million worldwide box office). I think it is safe to say that Lightyear is officially Pixar’s biggest bomb of all time.
All right, let’s loop back to Thor: Love and Thunder. In addition to the $143 million domestic box office, the thunder god also took in an additional $159 million at the international box office. This put Thor: Love and Thunder at a total of $302 million at the worldwide box office.
Let’s keep in mind what number Thor: Love and Thunder must hit for Disney to make a profit. This movie had a production budget of $250 million. Add in an estimated $100 marketing budget and you get a total of $350 million invested by Disney in this latest Thor movie. Let’s use the 50/50 split between theater owners and studios that is in place in the domestic box office for the international box office, too. I know this makes the numbers more favorable for Disney since theaters in foreign countries usually keep a higher cut. But, let’s be generous. This means that Thor: Love and Thunder has to make $700 million at the box office for Disney to break even.
Now, a first-place finish by Thor: Love and Thunder at a $143 million domestic box office is nice. And it does stem the tide of negative news after Lightyear and Ms. Marvel both bombed. However, there are some troublesome signs for this latest Thor movie.
Thor: Ragnarok brought in $122 million at the domestic box office during its opening weekend. Thor: Love and Thunder presented an improvement over the third Thor movie with an additional $21 million at the domestic box office. However, keep in mind that in 2017, movie ticket prices were cheaper than they are in 2022.
Thor: Love and Thunder’s opening weekend is the 12th best opening for a Marvel Studios movie. This is based on unadjusted numbers. So, Let’s narrow our focus and simply look at Thor: Love and Thunder’s competition in 2022.
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness brought in $187 million at the domestic box office during its opening weekend. Therefore, Thor: Love and Thunder’s opening weekend presented a 25% drop in numbers compared to Doctor Strange’s second movie. That is not the direction that Marvel Studios wants to see with their movies.
Jurassic World: Dominion made $145 million in its opening weekend. This also beats out Thor: Love and Thunder. However, what is more concerning is the money made on each day of the opening weekend between these two movies. Thor: Love and Thunder easily beat Jurassic Word: Dominion in previews by taking $29 million compared to Dominion’s $18 million. Yet, when you remove the money from previews, Dominion made $41 million on Friday compared to $40.5 million for Thor. On Saturday, Dominion increased its lead by taking in $46.9 million to Thor’s $42.1 million. Then on Sunday, Dominion brought in $38.6 million compared to Thor’s $31.4 million.
This suggests that Thor: Love and Thunder may lack a good word of mouth and may not have the legs to keep up with Jurassic World: Dominion. Disney needs Thor: Love and Thunder to make a boat load of money to cover the high production and marketing costs. It will be interesting to see how Thor does in theaters during its second weekend.