‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ earns franchise-best $143M in opening weekend

Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” scored big at the box office during its opening weekend, earning $143 million in North America, a franchise best for the Thor film series.

The movie, directed by Taika Waititi, opened on 4,375 screens this weekend and beat out “Minions: The Rise of Gru” for the top spot. With international showings included, the Thor film saw its global total already surpass $300 million. “Love and Thunder” had opened in 47 territories starting in the middle of last week.

The Thor franchise has increased its opening weekend performance with each subsequent film. The original “Thor” opened to $65.7 million in 2011, “The Dark World” garnered $85.7 million in 2013 and 2017’s “Ragnarok” brought home $122.7 million.

This image released by Marvel Studios shows Natalie Portman, left, and Chris Hemsworth in a scene from “Thor: Love and Thunder.” (Jasin Boland/Marvel Studios-Disney via AP / AP Newsroom)

“Love and Thunder” brought Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Natalie Portman back to the big screen, with Portman’s character Jane Foster becoming Thor. Russell Crowe plays Zeus and Christian Bale plays the villain Gorr the God Butcher.

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The film production budget was reported at $250 million, the largest of the Thor series.

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Tessa Thompson, from left, director Taika Waititi and Natalie Portman pose for photographers upon arrival at the screening of the film ‘Thor: Love and Thunder in London Tuesday, July 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Scott Garfitt) (AP Newsroom)

But despite the stellar opening weekend, “Thor: Love and Thunder” was not Marvel’s biggest opening of the year. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” debuted at $185 million in early May.

And both movies fell short of December’s release of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which raked in $260.1 million.

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New Zealand director Taika Waititi poses for a photo during a red carpet event for the movie premiere of “Thor: Love and Thunder” at the Entertainment Quarter in Sydney, Australia, Monday, June 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker) (AP Newsroom)

The Minions movie, in its second weekend in theaters, earned a second-place spot with $45.6 million, which increased its domestic total to $210.1 million and its worldwide grosses to $399.9 million.

“Top Gun: Maverick” came in third place in its seventh weekend with $15.5 million. The movie’s domestic total now sits at $597.4 million, and is expected to soon exceed $600 million, which would make it one of only 12 films to reach that mark .

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Chris Hemsworth poses on the red carpet at the premiere of Marvel Studios “Thor: Love and Thunder” at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, California, US, June 23, 2022. (REUTERS/David Swanson/File Photo) (Reuters Photos)

The summer 2022 box office continue to excel in comparison to last year, with this summer’s totals up 217% from summer 2021.

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The year as a whole surpassed $4 billion last week, a 233% jump from last year. However, that number is still falling behind 2019, the last box office year before COVID-19 hit, by 30%.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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