Walt Disney and Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder earned an additional $12.39 million on the fourth day of publication, down 62% from Sunday’s $32.5 million. That brings his four-day domestic revenue to $156.6 million and, assuming his 47.5/52.5 domestic/overseas split still stands, to $329.4 million worldwide. That 62% drop is more or less par ant man (-57% after a $58 million opening weekend), Spider-Man: Homecoming (-58% after a $117 million debut weekend), Ant Man and the Wasp (-62% after a $76 million launch), Spider-Man: Far From Home (-57% after a $185 million Tuesday-Sunday debut) and Black widow (-59% after an opening weekend of $80 million). Those are the MCU movies that opened in early July from 2015 to 2021, with a gap in 2016 (when Ghostbusters: Answer the call debuted at $46 million) and 2020 (when the top movie of the weekend was The Empire Strikes Back). At that rate, it will finish its first week at $191 million (if things go that way Black widow) and $204 million (when the time comes ant man).
So so far, and this includes a likely drop of over/under 62% over the second weekend, Thor: Love and Thunder plays just like a Midsummer Marvel movie. This Taika Waititi gate 4 is disappointing because it only performed as well as James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146 million in 2017 with rave reviews and massive goodwill towards James Gunn’s first Guardian flick) doesn’t make any more sense than arguing that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a disappointment because it didn’t break $1 billion worldwide. The Sam Raimi-directed fantasy sequel had no earnings from China and Russia and $950 million in gross revenue, making it still Marvel’s third-biggest no-Tony Stark/No Peter Parker. Fun fact: Matt Reeves’ The Batman didn’t have to hit $1 billion to be a hit either. I was dragged along by claims that it would only make about $650-750 million and defended its status as a hit when it grossed $770 million (including just $25 million from China).
Aside from two prominent examples that I’ll get to in a moment, the biggest No Spider-Man or Iron Man MCU grosss heading into 2020 were, Thor: Ragnarok with $854 million in 2017 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with $869 million in 2017. Before that were the top MCU earners Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($714 million in 2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy ($773 million in 2014), followed by Doctor Strange ($677 million in 2016) and Thor: The Dark World ($644 million in 2013). However, the relative overachievements of Black Panther ($700 million domestically and $1.346 billion worldwide) in 2018 and Captain Marvel ($427 million domestically and $1.128 billion worldwide in 2019) may have skewed expectations of any MCU film. The size of those numbers, especially for Ryan Cooglers Black Panther (which beat the first three out of four avenger movies in North America), hinting at an audience that showed up that wasn’t otherwise all that interested in the past or future MCU films.
Captain Marvel was the first big deal solo film starring female superheroes in the franchise and served as the glorified prologue to Avengers: Endgame. That partially (but not fully) explains why it’s made about as much globally as Spider-Man: Far From Home ($1.31 billion two months later Avengers: Endgame) and Aquaman ($1.148 billion in 2018, including $298 million from China). However, Ant Man and the Wasp open afterwards Black Panther and then Avengers: Infinity War ($679 million/$2.048 billion) and ended with a big “hint” on infinity war’is a shocking cliffhanger and still made “only” $216 million domestically and (thanks to $125 million from China) $620 million worldwide. Yes, the Marvel brand did the job of raising all of their boats. It’s done more than DC Films since blow-out hits like Aquaman and joker hardly moves the needle for smaller, cheaper films like Shazam and birds of prey). However, it didn’t automatically put every MCU film on the same playing field as it did Black Panther and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
I will argue that in the eyes of too many pundits and/or people online all the time, the overwhelming achievements of Black Panther and (to a lesser extent) Captain Marvel Setting the bar way too high for any and/or any upcoming MCU film. This is especially true for black Panthers since captain Marvel’s No China/Russia totals or is related to US$954 million Doctor Strange 2. but Black Panther was a monumental event. It stood out from the broader MCU narrative, as did (for example) terminator 2, Rambo: First Blood Part II or The dark knight significantly surpassed in comparison to their respective predecessors. As for whether “we” should have seen it coming (as opposed to it “only” making $400 million domestically and maybe $850 million worldwide), I suspect even Disney didn’t. Otherwise they wouldn’t have slotted Ava DuVernay’s A wrinkle in time only weeks later. Add whatever troubles both films Infinite War and endgameand you have a scenario that will not be repeated with any MCU flick.
Thor: Love and Thunder might due to mixed reviews and enthusiasm (think Batman & Robin) and the factor “in 45 days on Disney+”. Conversely, the complete lack of live-action four-quadrant tentpole newbies between now and Dwayne Johnsons Black Adam On October 21st there will be the same benefit Spider-Man: Homecoming had between himself and in 2017 Thor: Ragnarok in November. If it brings in “only” $715 million, that’s related gate 3 without China and Russia. Such a result should not automatically raise alarm or brand-wide concern. Doctor Strange 2 has just drawn the second largest (excluding China and Russia) in the world for a “no Spider-Man and no Iron Man” MCU flick, even with Covid variables and a shorter window. Before Black Panther and Black widow, $650 to $850 million would be more than good enough for “just another Marvel movie.” I would argue that it still is in terms of budget, word of mouth, planning and post-Covid variables. Wakanda foreverhowever, it can be an event in itself.