Thor: Love And Thunder Screams Its Way To A $143 Million Opening Weekend [Update]

Update: According to the latest numbers from Variety, "Thor: Love and Thunder" is rounding out its opening weekend with $143 million at the domestic box office and a current global tally of $302 million. 36% of that total comes from premium format ticket sales, such as 3D and IMAX. Original article follows.

It looks like the "Thor" franchise can still bring the thunder: the fourth installment of the Marvel superhero saga is set to win the box office this weekend. Following a $69.5 million Friday box office (including $29 million from Thursday night previews), estimates place its overall weekend earnings in the region of $140 million. This is about $10 million less than the earliest projections shared on Thursday, but still definitely a pretty penny. It will make "Thor: Love and Thunder" the third-biggest box office opening of 2022, behind only "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" and "Jurassic World Dominion."

"Love and Thunder" — which sees Thor (Chris Hemsworth) reunite with his ex Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), take on the god-killer Gorr (Christian Bale), and acquire some screaming goats — is the second "Thor" movie with filmmaker Taika Waititi at the helm. If Sunday numbers meet projections shared by Variety ("north of $135 million") and Deadline ($135-145 million), the sequel will surpass "Thor: Ragnarok," which opened with around $122 million, to earn the biggest opening weekend numbers of any Thor film.

Thor 4 scores more

Despite the higher box office numbers, "Thor: Love and Thunder" isn't raking quote in as much adoration as its predecessor. "Thor: Ragnarok" held steady with a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score from critics, while "Thor: Love and Thunder" has already fallen to 67%. Along with the most recent "Doctor Strange" film, it's also received a CinemaScore in the B range, which is low for a Marvel film. Murmurings of Marvel fatigue continue as Phase 4 of the franchise's endless superhero game plan wears on, but interest could be revitalized in the coming weeks when the franchise will appear at Comic Con for the first time since 2019.

And yet, who knows if any of these audience indicators will matter for the box office? The 2022 box office has been full of surprises, from the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise sputtering out, to the massive success of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" despite similar early indicators, to the seemingly unstoppable staying power of "Top Gun: Maverick." I caught "Thor: Love and Thunder" on Thursday and personally found it pretty enjoyable — neither as great as "Ragnarok" nor as bad as some hyperbolic feedback would indicate.

"Thor: Love and Thunder" is on track to recoup its expenses fairly quickly, as its production budget is reportedly around $250 million (per Variety). The superhero movie will face off against some competition in the next few weeks, as the July release calendar includes kid-centric fare like "Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank" and "DC League of Super Pets," along with Jordan Peele's long-awaited new horror project "Nope."