And with that, the Fall box office doldrums were thundered away by the arrival of Thor: Ragnarok, which gave the Marvel Cinematic Universe its third movie to open above $115 million in the span of six months. Specifically, Thor: Ragnarok opened to $121 million, which opened to 43% more than the last Thor adventure from four Novembers ago and scored the seventh biggest MCU opening of all-time as well as the seventh biggest opening weekend ever in November. It’s also worth noting that this opening weekend has well surpassed the domestic cume of any past Taika Waititi directorial effort and has also surpassed the lifetime domestic cume of Green Lantern, a recent superhero movie Waititi also appeared in.
Considering the first two Thor movies are among the least well-liked movies in the entire MCU canon, how did Marvel Studios get this one to such huge numbers? Simple; they went bold in basically ditching all the elements of past Thor movies and making this new adventure as distinctive as possible. Betting big on bright colors and humor as well as new cast members Cate Blanchett and Jeff Goldblum made it clear that this one was gonna be plenty different from its predecessors. Great reviews and word-of-mouth as well as this being the first all-ages PG-13 blockbuster event movie since Spider-Man: Homecoming at the start of July 2017 meant the marketplace was ripe for a big movie.
So how big can Thor: Ragnarok go at the domestic box office? Well, this one had the best opening weekend ever for an early November release, beating out Skyfall and its $88.3 million bow. That one ended up doing about 3.45 times its opening weekend with a $304.3 million domestic haul. I don’t see Thor doing that well due to way bigger competition in the weeks to come than Skyfall than anything 007 had to face back in November 2012 but more recent early November blockbusters could be more useful guideposts. Spectre did about 2.85 times its $70.4 million bow in November 2015 and fellow MCU title Doctor Strange did about 2.73 times its $85 million opening weekend just last November. Just doing 2.73 times its opening weekend like Doctor Strange would give Thor: Ragnarok a $330 million domestic haul while doing 2.85 times its opening weekend would give it a $345 million domestic haul. Either final gross would be mighty impressive and we shall see where it lands in the weeks ahead.
In second place was fellow newcomer A Bad Moms Christmas, which grossed a decent $17 million in its opening weekend. That’s down from the first movie’s $23 million bow but Christmas-themed movies of all kinds, especially ones opening in early November, tend to have smaller opening weekends and longer legs at the box office so it wouldn’t be shocking to see this one get to as high as $75 million domestically when all is said and done. While this one was done from its predecessors opening weekend, at least its a far more manageable drop than we’ve seen for many sequels this year which can be attributed to the positive response garnered by the first Bad Moms. Counting its Wednesday and Thursday grosses, A Bad Moms Christmas has grossed $21.6 million.
Way behind the top two movies was Jigsaw, which came in third place this weekend, and grossed another $6.7 million, a 59% drop from its opening weekend which is actually noticeably better than the 65% drop of Saw 3D from seven years ago as well as the 62% drop of Saw VI and the 67% plummet of Saw V. If only Jigsaw had had a bigger opening weekend though, since a smaller than usual second-weekend drop for this franchise still gives it only a $28.8 million domestic gross, putting it ahead of the $27.6 million cume of Saw VI, putting it on track for a domestic gross likely just below $40 million. Taking in another $4.6 million this frame was Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween, a 53% drop from last weekend, and it’s looking like a crapshoot as to whether or not this one will become the first Madea movie to gross under $50 million domestically. Going down 48% this frame was Geostorm, a decent hold considering it was facing off against a new Thor movie, though it only added $3 million to its disastrous $28.7 million domestic haul. Happy Death Day added $2.8 million, a 44% drop from last weekend, to its domestic haul that now stands at $52.9 million.
In its second weekend, Thank You For Your Service dropped 40% to add another $2.2 million to its domestic haul that now stands at only $7.3 million. In its fifth weekend, Blade Runner 2049 grossed another $2.2 million, a 45% drop from last weekend, meaning its now grossed $85.4 million. Meanwhile, the third weekend of Only The Brave mustered only $1.9 million, a 45% drop, for a domestic gross of only $15.2 million. Adding 327 to its theater count, Let There Be Light entered wide release this weekend (it’s playing in 700 theaters) and this Kevin Sorbo directorial debut grossed another $1.7 million, a tiny 1% dip, for a domestic total that now stands at $4.1 million. And in its second weekend, Suburbicon dropped 59% for a $1.1 million haul that brings up its domestic cume to only $5 million.
The final new wide release of the weekend was LBJ, the new Rob Reiner directorial effort and only the second effort from the filmmaker to open in wide release in over a decade. The feature grossed a so-so $1.1 million, which isn’t awful considering the meager marketing push it got (I had no clue this thing was bowing in wide release this weekend until about five days ago) but still is underwhelming for a film released into over 600 theaters.
The limited release box office news this weekend has quite a bit of favorable news for A24, starting with The Florida Project, which held excellently as it expanded into 189 locations and grossed $663,626 for a $3,511 per-theater average. Despite increasing its theater count by about 30%, it only went down 3% in its per-theater average. Looks like this one’s slow-burn release is paying off as it’s grossed $3 million domestically already. Also holding well was Loving Vincent, which grossed $590,195 from 205 locations for a per-theater average of $2,879, only 2% down from its per-theater average. This one’s grossed $3 million already and it looks like its got plenty of life left in it at the box office. Another A24 title, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, expanded into 89 theaters and grossed $401,426 for a $4,668 per-theater-average and a total domestic haul so far of $908,351.
But the biggest news amongst limited releases was Lady Bird, a new directorial effort from Greta Gerwig released by A24 that grossed $375,612 from 4 theaters for a $93,903 per-theater average. That’s the biggest per-theater average for any movie this year and signals that this one could be a box-office sleeper hit in the making when it expands into wide release over Thanksgiving, definitely keep an eye on this critically acclaimed motion picture. Meanwhile, My Friend Dahmer bowed in 4 theaters and grossed $45,000 for a per-theater average of $11,250 while Blade Of The Immortal grossed $42,000 from 30 locations and a per-theater average of only $1,400. Finally, the new Richard Linklater movie Last Flag Flying debuted to a disappointing $42,000 from 4 locations for a per-theater average of only $10,500.
The Top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $165.5 million, the second biggest first weekend of any November in history. If Thor’s box office performance is any indication of how films like Justice League, Coco, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle and Star Wars: The Last Jedi perform over the next two moths, the 2017 domestic box office could close out on a high note.