Thor: Love and Thunder Box Office Prediction

Each Thor pic has outdone the last and Disney hopes that trend continues when Thor: Love and Thunder hits theaters on July 8th. The sixth MCU entry in the past 14 months, the franchise shows no signs of slowing down as this follows juggernauts Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. 

This particular series is only the second to have a fourth feature (the other being Avengers). Taika Waititi, who made 2017’s predecessor Ragnarok, returns behind the camera with Chris Hemsworth once again hammering away as the title character. Natalie Portman’s Jane is back after sitting out part 3 and other familiar faces include Tessa Thompson, Jaimie Alexander, and Jeff Goldblum. The Guardians of the Galaxy are also in the mix. Newcomers to the fold are Christian Bale as main villain Gorr the God Butcher and Russell Crowe as Zeus. Expect plenty of cameos as well.

The first Thor (only the 4th of now 29 MCU flicks) grossed $65 million out of the gate with an overall gross of $181 million. Two and a half years later, The Dark World improved upon that with $85 and $206 million, respectively. Ragnarok easily surpassed that with $122 million and $315 million eventually.

Love and Thunder should continue the trend. Since the character’s last stand-alone effort, Thor was prominently placed in the massive Avengers sagas Infinity War and Endgame. That said, Multiverse from early May was a direct benefactor of following No Way Home when it premiered with $187 million. Its Spidey predecessor swung the second largest domestic opening of all time behind Endgame. 

I don’t believe Thunder will reach the stratosphere of Multiverse. Somewhere between $140-$160 million seems doable. If buzz continues to grow louder in the coming days, I reserve the right to revise up. My current take puts it in the range of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146 million) and Captain Marvel ($153 million). I’ll put it slightly over both.

Thor: Love and Thunder opening weekend prediction: $155.7 million

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review

Sam Raimi’s horror sense and gory sensibilities (Evil Dead style) permeates Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. On paper this is a sequel to 2016’s predecessor which introduced Benedict Cumberbatch as the cocky mythical surgeon Stephen Strange. As with most sagas in the MCU, his character has been in plenty of other adventures in the interim (most notably the gargantuan Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame). The fifth word is the most key in the title. As Spider-Man: No Way Home (with its understandably audience pleasing cameos) showed just a few months back, this cinematic universe is now comprised of scores of them. Multiverse has a limited amount of fun with this development that’s far less memorable.

Instead this sequel often serves as a continuation of Disney Plus’s first Marvel streaming series WandaVision with Elizabeth Olsen. If you didn’t watch that, you’re going to be a little lost. Olsen’s Wanda, on the TV show, created an idyllic home life with Vision (Paul Bettany) and two cute kids with superhero powers. The problem – it was a completely invented reality and Wanda was causing harm to others by continuing the charade. She comes to her senses eventually. Multiverse finds Wanda being taken over by her alter ego the Scarlet Witch after acquiring a book of magic spells. Her character motivations stretch credibility with the same elasticity as a certain cameo where she battles familiar MCUers with some different faces.

Wanda/Scarlet’s plans to reunite with her made up kiddos jeopardize life in plenty of multiverses. None of them involve her wanting to reunite with the love of her life Vision (there’s that credibility issue). It does involve Doctor Strange teaming up with America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez). I’m sure her persona will be fleshed out in future installments. For now she’s a teen with the ability to jump multiverses who possesses powers she’s just beginning to harness. Strange first makes her acquaintance while attending the wedding of his former flame Christine (Rachel McAdams). A CG monster interrupts the reception on the streets outside and an eye popping (literally) battle ensues. The Scarlet Witch wants America for her own nefarious purposes so the Doc must protect her across multiple dimensions.

Actually… only a couple of dimensions as Multiverse never gets much screen time to explore the possibilities other than a brief and very cool sequence. Therein lies part of the problem. While I know we’re dealing with intergalactic mayhem that can mean all sorts of unanticipated cameos and landscapes, Madness can feel surprisingly low stakes. It doesn’t help with the aforementioned matters of Scarlet’s clunky story treatment.

What does occasionally assist in the entertainment value is Raimi being in the director’s chair. Taking over for Scott Derrickson, the veteran filmmaker doesn’t shy away from jump scares and his unique brand made notable four decades ago in Evil Dead. There are unquestionably some impressive and spellbinding visuals. There’s also a pop-in by Bruce Campbell that is more satisfying than higher profile cameos. Unfortunately this suffers from a malady similar to Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 with villainous plots that don’t quite ultimately work. Chiwetel Ejiofor unceremoniously returns as a version of Mordo, Strange’s former ally turned foe.

All this Strange magic while Stephen pines for Christine makes for a middle of the universe to lower tier universe experience. I appreciate Kevin Feige and the team allowing Raimi so much creative control. However, while previous confrontations were fought in fewer dimensions, I felt they covered more meaningful ground. As the MCU moves forward across all these galaxies (sometimes with inspiration and sometimes trudging on shaky foundations), we’ll have lots of opportunities to see how the mix turns out. I still have guarded optimism.

**1/2 (out of four)

Top Gun: Maverick – Lightyears Ahead of Expectations

I’ve been at this box office predicting game for quite some time. If it gets stale for even a moment, something will come along to shock you. That happened this weekend. Twice.

First there’s the massive underperformance of Disney/Pixar’s Lightyear, which is barely topping $50 million for second place behind Jurassic World: Dominion. I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow,  but it’s not often a tentpole release comes in over $30 million behind your (and many other prognosticators) estimates. It made less than half of the fourth Toy Story tale three years ago.

Today, however, it’s all about Top Gun: Maverick. If you’d told me a month ago that the long gestating Tom Cruise sequel would score the second (you read that correctly) best fourth weekend of all time, I wouldn’t have believed it. That’s second only to the fourth frame of Avatar. Better than any Star Wars episode. Better than any MCU adventure. Better than Titanic. 

Maverick, with its soaring reviews and word-of-mouth, has undeniably become a phenomenon. Its $44 million estimated haul this weekend brings its domestic tally to an astonishing $466 million. That’s already $200 million over Cruise’s previous largest stateside hit – 2005’s War of the Worlds. A gross of over $600 million in the US and Canada seems assured in addition to a worldwide total topping $1 billion.

To say this is lightyears ahead of expectations is one heckuva understatement. This is the rare breed of picture that is appealing to all ages and genders and is clearly warranting repeat viewings. I suspect Oscar voters will take notice. Categories like Editing, Sound, and Visual Effects are obviously on the table. So too is Lady Gaga’s theme song “Hold My Hand” which might be an early frontrunner to win. And with these mind boggling earnings – Oscar voters could vault this into Best Picture contention and Tom Cruise could be in the mix for Best Actor. That’s far from guaranteed… yet it was unthinkable before its release.

The word phenomenon doesn’t come around much with box office forecasting. When 2002’s Spider-Man made $114 in its first weekend, that word applied because no pic had done so before. The domination of Titanic when many thought it would be a flop definitely fits the bill. So does James Cameron’s follow-up Avatar (ironically its sequel seems destined to compete with Maverick for some tech Oscars). The MCU juggernaut has a handful of examples.

Top Gun: Maverick is a phenomenon and in its fourth outing, the buzz is towering over everything else in 2022.

June 17-19 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Note (06/16): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my Lightyear estimate down again – from $95.5M to $85.5M

Blogger’s Note (06/15): Revising my Lightyear estimate down from $101.8M to $95.5M

Disney/Pixar looks to take its usual spot atop the charts with their first theatrical only release since Onward when Lightyear opens this weekend. It’s the only new product debuting as the Toy Story origin tale hopes to be the latest summer offering to top $100 million out of the gate. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Lightyear Box Office Prediction

I’m projecting it will gross just under nine figures and that’s slightly less than the third and fourth editions of the franchise it’s spawned from.

That should easily put it in first position with Jurassic World: Dominion falling to second. After a pretty solid start, I imagine it should suffer an approximate 60% decline like its 2018 predecessor Fallen Kingdom. 

Top Gun: Maverick should cruise to another meager decline for a third place showing in the $30 million range with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and The Bad Guys filling the rest of the top five.

Here’s how I see it:

1. Lightyear

Predicted Gross: $85.5 million

2. Jurassic World: Dominion

Predicted Gross: $54.8 million

3. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $36 million

4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $3.4 million

5. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $1.5 million

Box Office Results (June 10-12)

Jurassic World: Dominion couldn’t quite match what Fallen Kingdom accomplished four summers ago. The sixth entry in the nearly three decade old franchise earned $145 million, falling short of my $155.3 million expectation. Middling reviews (it has the worst Tomatoes score of the flock) probably pushed it a little lower than initially forecasted, but it’s still a respectable start.

Top Gun: Maverick dropped to second after two soaring frames at #1 with $51.8 million. I went a touch higher at $58.8 million and the three week take is an amazing $395 million. The total is good for the 10th largest third weekend in domestic history.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was third with $5.2 million. My projection? $5.2 million! The MCU juggernaut has amassed $398 million.

The Bad Guys was fourth with $2.5 million (I said $2.4 million) to bring its earnings close to nine figures with $91 million.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie rounded out the top five at $2.4 million compared to my $2.2 million prediction. It’s made $27 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

June 10-12 Box Office Predictions

Universal is looking for the dinosaurs to rule the box office landscape for the sixth time with Jurassic World: Dominion. It’s the only new wide release and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Jurassic World: Dominion Box Office Prediction

Dominion is the third feature in the second Jurassic trilogy and the numbers could be assisted by melding cast members from the original trilogy with the current one. I’m projecting it’ll improve on the opening weekend of predecessor Fallen Kingdom, but not approach the $200M+ debut of Jurassic World. That said – I have a strange feeling it might underperform so check back to see if my projection shifts later this week.

Top Gun: Maverick will be the runner-up after two incredible weeks on top including an astonishing sophomore hold (more on that below). It had no competition this past weekend and the dinos should eat into its grosses. Even with Dominion around, it still may only drop in the 40-45% range… maybe even less.

The rest of the top five should be populated by holdovers Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Bad Guys, and The Bob’s Burgers Movie. 

Here’s how I see it:

1. Jurassic World: Dominion

Predicted Gross: $155.3 million

2. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $58.8 million

3. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

4. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $2.4 million

5. The Bob’s Burgers Movie

Predicted Gross: $2.2 million

Box Office Results (June 3-5)

In a turn of events that was even more impressive than its Memorial Day weekend rollout, Top Gun: Maverick is officially a phenomenon as it dropped only 29%. That means a #1 frame of $90 million – towering over my $67.5 million projection. The number is the 8th largest sophomore output of all time. For perspective – it’s $6 million higher than Spider-Man: No Way Home and just $13 million below what  The Avengers made during the same weekend. It’s the best hold we’ve ever witnessed for a picture that debuted above $100 million. The ten-day tally is $295 million and the sky looks to be the limit.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness remained in second with $9.1 million. My guess? $9.1 million! The MCU behemoth is up to $388 million.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie fell a steep 63% in its second serving with $4.6 million, a bit under my $5.3 million prediction. Total is $22 million.

The Bad Guys took fourth with $3.3 million (I said $3.1 million) as it inches close to the century mark with $87 million.

Downton Abbey: A New Era rounded out the top five at $3.1 million, in line with my $3.2 million estimate for $35 million overall.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

May 27-30 Box Office Predictions

***And a final update for Top Gun: Maverick as my prediction rises again to $113.4 million for the three-day and $138 million for the four-day. That it gives it the #2 all-time Memorial Day for both frames.

***Blogger’s Note: Another day, another significant update raising my Top Gun: Maverick prediction. Now at $103.7M for the three-day and $124.4M for the four-day.

**Blogger’s Note (05/24): My Top Gun: Maverick prediction has risen from a $75.6M and $98.8M three and four-day start to $86.6M and $104.9M

Tom Cruise is poised to land his largest debut of all time over this Memorial Day weekend with the long in development sequel Top Gun: Maverick as the animated The Bob’s Burgers Movie is also served up. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the pair here:

Top Gun: Maverick Box Office Prediction

The Bob’s Burgers Movie Box Office Prediction

Arriving 36 years after the first entry made Cruise a superstar, Maverick is generating terrific buzz. For the three-day portion of the holiday frame, it needs to surpass the $64 million earned by 2005’s War of the Worlds in order to set a personal best start. I have it achieving that feat with over $10 million to spare with a gross just shy of $100 million for the Friday to Monday haul.

As for Burgers, it could find itself locked in a race with Downton Abbey: A New Era for third.

After a three-week reign atop the charts, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will drop to second with The Bad Guys likely rounding out the top five.

Here’s how I see for the four-day frame and I’m throwing in the three-day projections for the newbies:

1. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $138 million (Friday to Monday); **$113.4 million (Friday to Sunday)

2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $22.1 million

3. The Bob’s Burgers Movie

Predicted Gross: $11.6 million (Friday to Monday); **$9.2 million (Friday to Sunday)

4. Downton Abbey: A New Era

Predicted Gross: $9.5 million

5. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $6.2 million

Box Office Results (May 20-22)

The good doctor held off competition for the third week as Multiverse took in $32.3 million, ahead of my $27.8 million projection. The MCU juggernaut is up to $342 million thus far.

Downton Abbey: A New Era settled for second with $16 million, a bit shy of my $18.4 million take. That’s on the lower end of expectations and significantly under the $31 million that its 2019 predecessor earned out of the gate.

The Bad Guys was third with $6.1 million, in range with my $5.7 million prediction for $74 million overall.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 took fourth with $4 million (I said $3.5 million) to bring its impressive tally to $181 million.

Alex Garland’s Men failed to attract an audience with $3.2 million for fifth. I was a little more generous at $4.1 million. Despite some decent reviews, the Cinemascore grade was a putrid D+.

Everything Everywhere All at Once was sixth with $3.1 million compared to my $2.7 million guesstimate. With $52 million in the bank, it is now A24’s highest domestic earner.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

May 20-22 Box Office Predictions

**Blogger’s Update (05/18): It appears as if Alex Garland’s Men will premiere wide on approximately 2500 screens. Due to that, my $4.1 million puts it in fourth place and that change is reflected below. For my detailed prediction post, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2022/05/18/men-box-office-prediction/

 

The aristocrats of the acclaimed PBS series are back on the big screen as Downton Abbey: A New Era is the only newcomer this weekend.

You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Downton Abbey: A New Era Box Office Prediction

Unless it seriously over performs, the sequel should place second to another one – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in its third outing (more on its sophomore frame below). I’m figuring Madness should dip in the mid 50s with Abbey posting a high teens gross.

The rest of the top five should consist of holdovers The Bad Guys, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Everything Everywhere All at Once with the bomb Firestarter falling out after its tepid start.

Here’s how I see it looking:

1. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $27.8 million

2. Downton Abbey: A New Era

Predicted Gross: $18.4 million

3. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $5.7 million

4. Men

Predicted Gross: $4.1 million

5. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Predicted Gross: $3.5 million

6. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Predicted Gross: $2.7 million

Box Office Results (May 13-15)

The MCU kept rolling as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness took in $61.7 million to bring its total to $292 million. In 10 days, it has easily surpassed the $232 million earned domestically by its 2016 predecessor. That said, it fell below my $66.8 million projection and its 67% decline is hefty one for the studio. All in all – Marvel is still minting $$$.

The Bad Guys held the two spot with $7 million, right in line with my $7.1 million estimate for a four-week take of $66 million.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was third with $4.6 million, on pace with my $4.3 million prediction as it now stands at $175 million.

The aforementioned Firestarter (which was also available on Peacock), a remake of a 1984 pic based on a Stephen King novel, failed to generate any heat. Its fourth place haul was a measly $3.8 million. I was more generous at $6.5 million.

Everything Everywhere All at Once rounded out the top five with $3.3 million (I said $3.1 million) as the future Oscar contender has amassed $47 million.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was sixth with $2.5 million (I went with $2.7 million) for $90 million as it’s struggling to reach nine digits.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

May 13-15 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Update (05/12): Revising Firestarter down to $6.5 million

A different caped crusader set the 2022 opening weekend record with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness dominating the charts. It will reign supreme in its sophomore frame as only the Stephen King adapted horror reboot Firestarter debuts this weekend. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Firestarter Box Office Prediction

I’m giving Firestarter (also available via Peacock) the benefit of the doubt by putting it in double digits considering its genre often over performs. That should easily give it the #2 slot behind MCU’s mystical doc.

Look for The Bad Guys and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to slide a spot to 3rd and 4th. The five spot could be close between Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and Everything Everywhere All at Once. 

The real question is how far Multiverse drops in its sophomore outing. The Strange sequel received mixed critical reaction that has carried over a bit with audiences. The B+ Cinemascore grade is among the lowest of the franchise. Only Eternals (B) was below it while 2011’s original Thor also received the B+ designation. Due to that factor, I could foresee a low to potentially high 60s range fall.

Here’s how I see the top 6 playing out:

1. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $66.8 million

2. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million

3. Firestarter 

Predicted Gross: $6.5 million

4. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Predicted Gross: $4.3 million

5. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

6. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Predicted Gross: $2.7 million

Box Office Results (May 6-8) 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had the #11 largest domestic debut in history, positioning itself between fellow Disney sequels Avengers: Age of Ultron and Incredibles 2. Coming on the heels of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the MCU property amassed $187.4 million. While that didn’t get into top 10 all-time territory like I projected at $208.5 million, it’s still a marvelous haul (especially considering the 2016 original began with $85 million). For the reasons stated above, I do expect a larger than normal MCU decline in the mid 60s.

The Bad Guys, after two weeks in first, was second with $9.5 million. That’s in line with my $10 million estimate as the DreamWorks title has taken in $57 million thus far.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was third with $6 million, a bit under my expected $7.1 million. Overall gross is a sturdy $169 million.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore continued its underwhelming run with $4.2 million. I was on target as I said $4.3 million. Total is $86 million as it’s hoping to at least eek out $100 million.

Everything Everywhere All at Once rounded out the top five with $3.5 million. I projected a little higher with $4.4 million, but its pleasing tally is up to $41 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Oscar Predictions: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Last year, The Power of the Dog scored the most Oscar nominations including Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch. His return as Marvel’s superhero in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hopes to land at least one mention in a category where the MCU has received plenty.

The review embargo lifted today ahead of its Friday premiere and the Rotten Tomatoes score is currently 79% (that’s a match with last summer’s Black Widow). Sam Raimi’s directorial contribution to the world’s biggest franchise, based on some critics and their reservations, really only has a shot at Best Visual Effects.

That’s where 12 previous movies starting with Iron Man and ending with 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Spider-Man: No Way Home have made the final five. Somewhat shockingly, none have won. In the middle of that pack is predecessor Doctor Strange from 2016 (it lost to The Jungle Book).

Considering the original Strange made the cut, Madness could absolutely be in line to follow suit. It’ll need to do so over two forthcoming MCU adventures (Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever). None of the Thor pics managed a VE nod and neither did the first Panther. Therefore it strands to reason that this could be the best MCU bet for inclusion in 2022. Like the others, I don’t believe it has a shot to win. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

May 6-8 Box Office Predictions

The summer box office season officially kicks off in the manner it has many times lately… with an expected Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness looks to accomplish some records after previous franchise entry Spider-Man: No Way Home set plenty of its own. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on Benedict Cumberbatch’s return as the mystical doc here:

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Box Office Prediction

My estimate would give Multiverse the 7th largest domestic premiere of all time and the highest ever for the month of May (topping The Avengers). It would be #4 in terms of MCU entries – behind Avengers: Endgame, No Way Home, and Avengers: Infinity War. 

No other film is daring to open against this and family friendly entries The Bad Guys (after two weeks on top) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 should slide a spot. Everything Everywhere All at Once is holding extremely well from week to week and it could rise to fourth over Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. 

Here’s how I think the top 5 will look:

1. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $208.5 million

2. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $10 million

3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Predicted Gross: $4.4 million

5. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore 

Predicted Gross: $4.3 million

Box Office Results (April 29-May 1)

Before Marvel begins its domination, it was a pretty quiet weekend with The Bad Guys repeating in first. The DreamWorks Animation effort made $16.2 million, topping my $14.4 million projection for $44 million in 10 days.

Most holdovers managed to slightly exceed my expectations. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 stayed in second at $11.5 million compared to my $10.8 million call. Total is $161 million.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore continued its ho-hum run in third with $8.3 million, just above my $7.7 million take. The three-week tally is a disappointing $79 million.

The Northman was fourth in its sophomore outing with $6.3 million. I went with $5.6 million and it’s at $22 million.

Everything Everywhere All at Once actually had a 2% increase with $5.5 million to round out the top five (I said $4.2 million). The A24 Oscar hopeful has made an impressive $35 million.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was sixth with $3.8 million (I predicted $3.5 million) for $13 million in two weeks.

Finally, Liam Neeson’s streak of low grosses stayed intact as Memory opened in 8th with $3.1 million. That’s in line with his recent (non) earners and just below my $3.3 million projection.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…