Thursday night audiences made a date with Disney’s Thor: Love and Thunder, which took in $29 million from showtimes that began at 3 p.m., making it easily the second-best preview figure in 2022 behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘ $36M. And for those studios trying to puff up their preview numbers with Tuesday or Wednesday night showtimes, Thor: Love and Thunder‘s cash is pure Thursday night ticket sales. Take note.
Thor: Love and Thunder‘s previews are also the fifth biggest for an MCU title behind Avengers: Endgame ($60M), Spider-Man: No Way Home ($50M), Avengers: Infinity War ($39M) and Doctor Strange 2.
Projections earlier this week had the Taika Waititi-irected fourthquel doing between $140M-$160M. Critics, despite being over the moon with Waititi’s reboot of the Marvel superhero with 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok (also the highest-opening and -grossing installment in the franchise at $122.7M, and a $315M final in U.S.-Canada), have soured on this installment at 68% fresh. That said, word is fans will still love Love and Thunder and show up. The Rotten Tomatoes audience score stands at 85% to Ragnarok‘s 87%.
Given how the MCU devotees show up on Thursday night, when it comes to a Marvel title, you always have to wait it out to see how frontloaded it is, or whether it’s lassoing another ticket sales stratosphere. For example: though Avengers: Age of Ultron had a lower preview number of $27.6M next to Doctor Strange 2, it wound up posting a higher weekend take of $191.2M. Ditto for Black Panther, which did $25.2M in Thursday night business and flew to a three-day total of $202M (granted, that was over a four-day Presidents Day weekend). Still, look for Love and Thunder to easily give Oscar winner Waititi his biggest opening weekend ever.
Oh, and the fourthquel’s gross last night is also double what Ragnarok raked in from its previews which were $14.5M. Previews repped 31% of that’s movie’s $46.4M opening day.
In terms of Love and Thunder pre-sales figures, the pic came in at $48M, which though behind Doctor Strange 2‘s $85M (that pic coming off the halo of Spider-Man: No Way Home) is ahead of Jurassic World Dominion‘s $40M, Top Gun: Maverick‘s $38M and The Batman‘s $42M on the Thursday before opening day. Currently, Doctor Strange 2 has the best opening of the year at $187.4M, followed by Jurassic World: Dominion‘s $145M. That latter pic only raked in $18M off combined 4 p.m. Thursday-night and earlier-week previews. Clearly, Love and Thunder‘s weekend has to overshoot the dinosaurs’ gross.
Meanwhile, Illumination/Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru had a fantastic week following its July 4th-record four-day opening of $123M. Each weekday has seen double-digit-million grosses with Thursday taking in $10.3M, off 24% from Wednesday, for a first-week gross of $164.5M. That’s only 1.1% behind 2015’s Minions.