“Thor: Love and Thunder” looks 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 weekend’s top release, the superhero film is taking a sizable tumble from its opening. “Love and Thunder” added $13.8 million in its second Friday, roughly 80% down from its opening day. That’s a hair stronger than Marvel’s most recent releases “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (an 81% drop on its second Friday) and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (an 84% fall), but it’s on the steeper side for the studio, particularly compared to the film’s predecessor “Thor: Ragnarok,” which fell 60% in its second Friday.
Some industry projections have “Love and Thunder” netting $45 million from 4,375 locations in its second weekend, falling below initial estimates for a sophomore haul north of $55 million. The film should expand its domestic gross beyond $230 million through the weekend, already marking it as the sixth highest grossing domestic release of 2022 so far. Even considering the slight underperformance, those numbers are nothing to sneeze at.
Directed by “Ragnarok” helmer Taika Waititi, the fourth solo installment in 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 adaptation of the popular murder mystery novel, is projected to pull $15 million to $16 million from 3,650 locations in its opening weekend. It’s a sizable debut for a female-skewing drama with a modest $24 million production budget. What’s more, “Crawdads” is outperforming its original industry projections, which had pegged the adaptation for a $10 million opening heading into the weekend. The film looks to open in third on domestic charts.
Produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, “Where the Crawdads Sing” follows Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones), an outcast living in the marshes of North Carolina, who finds herself at the center of a murder investigation.
Critics have been largely dismissive of the film, which has netted a Rotten Tomatoes score of 38% from top critics. However, Variety‘s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman praised “Crawdads,” saying it is “at once a mystery, a romance, a back-to-nature reverie full of gnarled trees and hanging moss, and a parable of women’s power and independence in a world crushed under by masculine will.” Audiences have also been receptive, with the film scoring an “A-” grade from research firm Cinema Score, indicating solid approval among general moviegoers.
Paramount’s “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” isn’t making much of a splash. The animated release is debuting outside of the top five with a projected $6.2 million opening 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 releases for multiplexes.
The family-friendly film “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” is loosely drawn from Mel Brooks’ landmark 1974 comedy “Blazing Saddles,” trading cowboys for samurai and racial tensions for dog-vs.-cat antics. The story follows a beagle, voiced by Michael Cera, who becomes the sword-wielding protector of a town of felines. The film also includes the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Ricky Gervais, Michelle Yeoh and Brooks.
The original release date for “Paws of Fury” was all the way back in 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 being released by Paramount. It’s easy to imagine many parties involved are relieved to put the troubled production in the rearview mirror. And with an “A-” grade from CinemaScore, it seems that they have at least left some smiles on people’s faces along the way.
Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” looks to repeat in second place. The animated spinoff looks to add $25.3 million in its third weekend, dropping only 45% from its sophomore outing. “The Rise of Gru” currently stands as the fifth highest grossing film of 2022. It should expand its domestic gross beyond $260 million through the weekend.
Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” is putting up yet another impressive hold at the box office. The Tom Cruise sequel looks to fall a slim 24% in its eighth weekend, adding $11.7 million to its domestic haul. With $609 million in domestic ticket sales to its name, “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” (a $620 million gross) and Marvel’s “The Avengers” (a $623 million gross) in the near future.
“Elvis” should round out the box office’s top five. The Warner Bros. release added $2.3 million on Friday, only 32% down from one week ago. The Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic surpassed a $100 million domestic gross this week — an impressive result for a drama aimed squarely at older audiences.
Focus Features’ “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” also hit theaters this weekend with a semi-wide release. The feature adaptation of Paul Gallico’s 1958 novel looks to earn a modest $1.74 million from 980 theaters in its opening, roughly amounting to $1,776 per location. The Lesley Manville vehicle looks to land in tenth on domestic charts.