Yesterday, we broke down each major studio’s biggest blockbuster franchise. Unsurprisingly, when it came to Disney, the Marvel Cinematic Universe stood head and shoulders above the rest. The sprawling 16-movie (and counting) series is a money maker of unparalleled proportions that just keeps getting bigger. In fact, the next MCU release, Thor: Ragnarok, is on pace to put up some serious numbers.
The third entry into the weakest MCU series received a jolt of life when the studio tapped indie darling Taika Waititi to direct and now Marvel is reaping the benefits of its wise decision. Thor: Ragnarok opened in 36 markets last week, earning $109 million. After early estimates pegged an impressive $90 million to $100 million domestic opening, recent tracking projections have pushed that number up to between $110 million and $120 million on the back off strong reviews across the board.
Now, Deadline is reporting that Ragnarok should take in upwards of $400 million worldwide by Sunday, its first weekend in key territories such as the U.S./Canada, China, Japan, Germany, Russia and Mexico. To put that in perspective, the first Thor movie earned $449 million worldwide total in 2011 and 2006’s Superman Returns earned $391 million, per Box Office Mojo.
Thor: The Dark World was the first MCU feature to drop in November when it arrived in 2013 to north of $85 million. This proved more effective than the original Thor‘s May opening ($65.7 million), proving Marvel could take advantage of nontraditional blockbuster release dates. Thinking bigger, the industry hopes Ragnarok and Justice League can jump start box office totals after the lowest October output ($539 million) in a decade. So far, so good on that front.
To date, every single non-Avengers sequel in the MCU has out-grossed its predecessor. That’s particularly impressive given how often some franchises peter out financially as they continue (see: The Hunger Games). But with a 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and added value elements such as Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk, Thor: Ragnarok‘s all-consuming success isn’t a huge surprise. At this point, massive box office totals and quality RT scores are just par the course for Marvel.