Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
November 4, 2017
It’s been a year of misery at the box office for the most part, with a few explosive exceptions. Happily, this weekend marks one of those exceptions.
Thor: Ragnarok, the film that is universally beloved by critics (93% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) got its domestic weekend started with a bang after coming in with $109 million from international venues last weekend. With Thursday previews at a fabulous $14.5 million, it had the rest of the weekend to equal or better that result.
With a Friday take of $46.8 million, including those preview numbers, Thor: Ragnarok will easily become the highest performing film of the Thor series. In fact, its trajectory makes it appear as if it will just about equal that international total, with $110 million for the debut weekend.
What is it about this Thor that makes audiences so excited? For once, the creators of the film have embraced the silliness of the character. The first two films had a seriousness about them that really didn’t match the tone that Thor and his universe were gifted in comic books. With Thor: Ragnarok, director Taika Waititi has found that perfect blend of gravitas (some serious stuff does happen in the film) and humor that has marked the most successful of the MCU films.
Uniting Thor and Hulk, two of the Marvel characters that are hardest to do standalone films with, this Thor actually tells the popular Planet Hulk story without having to deal with the Hulk/Bruce Banner divide (or Hulk’s wife, a problematic element given the closeness of that character and Black Widow).
Additionally, this version of Hulk removes Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgaard and Kat Dennings from the books, opening up budget to bring in some cheaper performers (Tessa Thompson and Karl Urban) as well as some awesome, scene-chewing actors (Cate Blanchett and Jeff Goldblum). All of this happens while maintaining the presence of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who has become one of the more beloved sometimes villain/sometimes hero characters of the MCU.
A Bad Mom’s Christmas also debuted this weekend. After starting on Wednesday with a small $2.5 million, it recovered a fair amount yesterday with $5.5 million. That’s still just over half of the first day total of the original film, which tells us that like so many other needless sequels of 2017, audiences just aren’t having it. Bad reviews probably didn’t help, either.