Box Office: ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Remains No. 1 in Second Weekend

“Thor: Love and Thunder” is looking to rule the box office again in its second weekend, fending off more modest openers “Where the Crawdads Sing” and “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank.”

While Marvel’s Thor Fourquel has an easy path to remaining the best release of the weekend, the superhero movie has suffered a major downfall since its opening. “Love and Thunder” added $13.8 million on its second Friday, about 80% below its opening day. That’s a hair stronger than Marvel’s latest releases “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (an 81% second Friday drop) and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (an 84% drop). but it’s steeper on the studio side, especially compared to the movie’s predecessor “Thor: Ragnarok,” which dropped 60% on its second Friday.

Some industry projections predict that “Love and Thunder” will gross $45 million from 4,375 locations in its second weekend, below initial estimates for a second haul north of $55 million. The film is expected to expand its domestic grossing beyond $230 million through the weekend, already marking it as the sixth highest-grossing domestic release of 2022 so far. Even given the slight underperformance, these numbers are nothing to sneeze at.

Directed by “Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi, the fourth solo installment of Thor’s Marvel journey stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Jaimie Alexander and Russell Crowe.

Sony’s “Where the Crawdads Sing,” the feature film adaptation of the popular murder mystery novel, is expected to gross between $15 million and $16 million from 3,650 locations in its opening weekend. It’s a significant debut for a female drama with a modest $24 million production budget. What’s more, “Crawdads” surpasses its original industry projections, which had pegged the adaptation for a $10 million opening before the weekend. The film appears to open in third position on the national charts.

Produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, “Where the Crawdads Sing” follows Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones), an outcast living in the North Carolina swamps, who finds herself at the center of a murder investigation.

Critics largely rejected the film, which earned a Rotten Tomatoes score of 38% from top critics. However, VarietyChief film critic Owen Gleiberman praised “Crawdads”, saying it’s “part mystery, part romance, part back-to-nature reverie full of gnarled trees and hanging moss, and a parable of female power and independence in a world crushed by male will. Audiences were also receptive, with the film earning an “A-” rating from research firm Cinema Score, indicating strong approval among moviegoers in general.

Paramount’s “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” doesn’t make a big splash. The anime version debuted outside the top five with a projected opening of $6.2 million from 3,475 locations. The film faces stiff competition for family audiences from Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and Marvel’s “Thor,” both of which remain hot multiplex releases.

The family movie “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” is loosely drawn from Mel Brooks’ seminal 1974 comedy “Blazing Saddles,” trading cowboys for samurai and racial tension for dog-for-cat antics. The story follows a beagle, voiced by Michael Cera, who becomes the sword-wielding protector of a city of felines. The film also features the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Ricky Gervais, Michelle Yeoh and Brooks.

The original release date of “Paws of Fury” dates back to April 2017. Needless to say, it’s been a long road for the film, which was conceived as a Sony production before moving to Open Road. Now “Paws of Fury” is published by Paramount. It’s easy to imagine that many of the parties involved are relieved to put the troubled production in the rearview mirror. And with an “A-” rating from CinemaScore, it looks like they at least left smiles on people’s faces along the way.

Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” seems to be repeating itself in second place. The animated spinoff looks to add $25.3 million in its third weekend, dropping just 45% from its second outing. “The Rise of Gru” is currently the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2022. It is expected to grow in domestic revenue past $260 million through the weekend.

Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” is setting up another impressive box office hold. The Tom Cruise sequel appears to drop 24% in its eighth weekend, adding $11.7 million to its domestic haul. With $609 million in domestic ticket sales, “Maverick” is now closing in on the all-time top 10 at the North American box office. The film could potentially surpass Disney’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” ($620 million gross) and Marvel’s “The Avengers” ($623 million gross) in the near future.

“Elvis” is expected to round out the top five at the box office. The release of Warner Bros. added $2.3 million on Friday, just 32% less than a week ago. The Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic surpassed $100 million domestic gross this week — an impressive result for a drama aimed at older audiences.

“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” also hit theaters this weekend with a semi-wide release. The feature film adaptation of Paul Gallico’s 1958 novel appears to earn a modest $1.74 million from 980 theaters when it opened, or about $1,776 per location. Lesley Manville’s vehicle is looking to place tenth in the national charts.

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