Thor: Love And Thunder Takes A Serious Dip At The Box Office, But Still Wins The Weekend

Mantis, Peter Quill and Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder
(Image credit: Marvel Studio)

Launching into theaters last weekend, Taika Waititi's Thor: Love And Thunder had a tremendous opening on the big screen – earning $144.2 million at the domestic box office (the third biggest Friday-to-Sunday thus far in 2022). Surely there was a lot of celebration initiated at Marvel Studios in reaction to the success... but this week's results are definitely going to put a damper on the party. The fourth chapter in the Thor series is still the number one movie in the United States and Canada... but its earnings took a shocking dip in regards to weekend-to-weekend comparison.

Check out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis!

Thor: Love And Thunder Weekend Box Office banner July 15-17, 2022

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)
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1. Thor: Love And Thunder$46,000,000 $233,271,136 14,375
2. Minions: The Rise Of Gru$26,000,000 $262,567,505 24,111
3. Where The Crawdads Sing*$17,000,000 $17,000,000 Row 2 - Cell 3 3,650
4. Top Gun: Maverick$12,000,000 $617,962,568 33,292
5. Elvis$7,600,000 $106,200,411 43,305
6. Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank$6,250,000 $6,250,000 Row 5 - Cell 3 3,475
7. The Black Phone$5,310,000 $72,046,175 62,271
8. Jurassic World: Dominion$4,950,000 $359,709,000 52,647
9. Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris*$1,900,000 $1,900,000 Row 8 - Cell 3 980
10. Lightyear$1,300,000 $115,498,750 71,350

Thor: Love And Thunder's Earnings Drop Nearly 70 Percent Compared To Its Opening Weekend

In this conversation, let's start by pointing out that the estimated $46 million earned by Thor: Love And Thunder in its second weekend is still a nice chunk of change. Had it only earned that much when it debuted, it still would be listed among the Top 10 openings in 2022. The Marvel Cinematic Universe film has certainly done what Marvel blockbusters do, and that's draw in movie-goers and rake in cash.

What's troubling in this case is that the money flow for the film has gone from a deluge to what is contextually a trickle in just seven days. The nearly $100 million difference between the earnings in Thor: Love and Thunder's two weekends in release thus far is a drop of 68 percent (via The Numbers), and that's a fall that has to trouble even the most optimistic Marvel/Disney executives.

Important to further note is that this isn't the first time in the last year that this has happened. In fact, this is actually the fifth Marvel Cinematic Universe release to drop over 60 percent in its second weekend since the start of the franchise's Phase 4 (Destin Daniel-Cretton's Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is the lone exception to the pattern). The 68 percent tumble experienced by Cate Shortland's Black Widow last summer saw a lot of blame pointed at the decision to make it a hybrid release – a.k.a. simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ – but no other title has that excuse.

It should be noted that there were Marvel movies in the Infinity Saga that took 60 percent-plus dips in their sophomore Friday-to-Sundays... but that was very rare. Of the 23 films released during that era of the franchise, only four had that kind of second weekend dip: Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk, Joe Johnston's Captain America: The First Avenger, Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peyton Reed's Ant-Man Ant The Wasp

Natalie Portman as Jane Foster in Thor: Love And Thunder

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel movies aren't the only films that are taking serious dips in their second weekends of release (it's something we've seen ever since the start of the pandemic), but it does seem to be an on-going issue with the franchise. So what's driving it?

One key factor in this conversation may be that Marvel Studios has unintentionally changed the way that audiences watch their content. In addition to all of the Phase 4 films that have been released, Marvel has also been rapidly rolling out a large number of originals series on Disney+ – including WandaVision, Loki, Hawkeye, and, most recently, Ms. Marvel. These titles are featured on the streaming service right alongside all of the previous MCU films that are out on home video, and as a result audiences are getting comfortable seeing all of the content on a smaller screen.

Those who value the power of the theatrical experience are still going to see all of the Marvel movies when they premiere in cinemas around the globe, but those who would normally go see the films in their second or third weeks may now just be opting to wait a few more weeks for the new title to land online.

In the specific case of Thor: Love And Thunder, the film may be getting hurt by the buzz around it, as the critical response wasn't exactly tremendous (it has a 68 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and CinemaScore grades delivered a "B+" (while Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok got an "A").

All that being said, Thor: Love And Thunder has still made a hell of a lot of money to date. In addition to having made north of $200 million domestically, its global box office haul will total over $500 million within the next couple of days. At present, it's the seventh biggest worldwide release of 2022, though it is presently chasing Kyle Balda's Minions: The Rise Of Gru, which got a one week head start on the Marvel blockbuster and is also continuing to do quite well.

Where The Crawdads Sing And Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank Put Up Mediocre Numbers In Wide Release

As I noted in last week's column, studios are trained at this point not to release major movies in the wake of Marvel blockbusters, not wanting to run the risk of them being trampled. The name of the game is usually smaller titles that can run as counterprogramming to the big action spectacle – and this week those films were Olivia Newman's Where The Crawdads Sing and Rob Minkoff, Mark Koetsier, and Chris Bailey's Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank.

The former, based on the best-selling novel of the same name, cost a reported $24 million to make (per Deadline), and so a $17 million start at the box office is solid – not to mention it's the first movie to push Joseph Kosinski's Top Gun: Maverick out of the Top 3 since that film debuted in late May. It was only estimated to make about $10 million, so it could be said that it overperformed.

Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank was expected to make around the same amount as its counterprogramming companion, but it conversely underperformed. Playing to little kids who perhaps are a bit too young for the action of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movie couldn't quite make it into the Top 5 this weekend, making only $6.3 million in ticket sales domestically. 

In Limited Release, Anthony Fabian's Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris And Marcel The Shell With Shoes On Continue To Perform Well

In addition to Where The Crawdads Grow and Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank, this weekend's list of new releases also included Anthony Fabian's Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris – though the title only made it on to 980 screens in its theatrical debut. The critically acclaimed film (CinemaBlend's own Mike Reyes very much on the bandwagon) performed well enough to claim a spot toward the bottom of the weekend's rankings, taking ninth place after making $1.9 million.

The success of Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris arguably pushed Dean Fleischer-Camp's Marcel The Shell With Shoes On out of the Top 10, but the A24 feature continues to do well in limited release. The stop motion/live action movie may have fell from eighth place to eleventh place this weekend, but it actually saw its profits increase 79 percent as it started playing in more than 100 new locations. 

With the additional $575,370 it made the last three days, its domestic total is up to $1.7 million, and the expectation is that it will follow the successful strategy of Daniels' Everything Everywhere All At Once: slowly start to play in more and more theaters until everyone in the world realizes its one of the best films of the year and start purchasing tickets in droves.

Coming up, the box office should get a nice shakeup, and very likely a new number one film, as this Friday will see the highly anticipated release of Jordan Peele's Nope. Can it match the powerful success of 2017's Get Out or top the even bigger numbers that were put up by 2019's Us? Head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday and find out.

To see everything that is cinematically on tap for what remains of the year, check out our 2022 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.