‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Triumphs at Box Office Again, Sets up Showdown With ‘Justice League’

Industry, still suffering down year, looks to superheroes to save the day.

November 12, 2017 1:48 pm
Thor: Ragnarok
Chris Hemsworth in 'Thor: Ragnarok' (Marvel)

With Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok vanquishing all other foes at the box office for a second straight weekend — hauling in $56.6 million at 4,080 locations — the film industry is cheering another super hero savior in what has been an overall down year.

Well, everyone in the industry who doesn’t work for Warner Bros.

That’s because on Thursday night, the next big superhero blockbuster will hit screens — Justice League, the big superhero team-up movie that unites DC Comics heavyweights Wonder Woman, Batman and The Flash in that studio’s answer to arch-rival Marvel’s Avengers. And mixed early social media reaction from the journalists who have seen the movie have done little to soothe wary fans who are worried that the film will be more like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice than the acclaimed Wonder Woman.

“Certainly a movie like ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ hows people love to go to the movie theater for an event movie,” says ComScore senior box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of the film’s lower-than-expected drop of 54 percent from its $122.7 million debut last weekend.

“Usually the bigger they are, the harder they fall, so if the movie doesn’t measure up to the promise of the marketing, you’ll often see 70 percent drops. This type of success is the purest reflection of an audience’s enjoyment of a movie.”

And those numbers make the Marvel sequel an intimidating act to follow with bragging rights at stake for DC fans.

There were some other success stories at the box office this weekend: Paramount’s comedy sequel, Daddy’s Home 2, finished with a solid $30 million from 3,575 screens and completed the cinematic comeback of Mel Gibson. And Fox’s Murder on the Orient Express, left for dead by critics, still earned $28.2 million on 3,341 screens.

Still, the industry remains down by 5 percent from the same time last year, with too much ground to make up even with a Star Wars film on the horizon. Considering that superheroes — including Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming — have been among the few reliable performers, exhibitors at least are looking forward to Justice League. 

Projections have the movie opening with around $110 million, which combined with the $122 million notched by Thor: Ragnarok, would make this November the first non-summer month ever with two $100 million-plus openings. Batman can save the day for movie theaters, too.

Deragarbedian borrows the tagline for Alien vs. Predator to explain the business view of the super-showdown: “Whoever loses the battle, we all win.”

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