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Thor 2: No Iron Man or Spider-Man, Superman or Batman

6 minutes read

Thor 2 box office: The Avengers bump not enough to propel Thor into ‘super man’ territory

Ramon Novarro Beyond Paradise

Nov. 10 update: Directed by Alan Taylor and starring Chris Hemsworth, Thor 2 – officially Thor: The Dark World – debuted in North America (U.S. and Canada only) on Friday, Nov. 7, collecting an estimated $31.6 million from 3,841 sites, according to figures found at That amount includes an estimated $7.1 million from Thursday evening and Friday midnight shows. Note: More than 3,100 theaters are showing Thor 2 in 3D.

Needless to say, Thor: The Dark World, which also features Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins, will far surpass its predecessor at the domestic box office. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, Thor 2011 debuted with $65.7 million.

Due to the mammoth success of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, which featured Thor alongside The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), early predictions had Thor 2 opening with $90–$95 million at the domestic box office – or about 35 percent above Thor 2011’s opening weekend. However, The Avengers box office bump or no, Thor: The Dark World will likely gross closer to $83–$85 million by Sunday evening. (Sunday update: Thor: The Dark World opened with an estimated $86.1 million in North America.)

Official weekend box office estimates will be released on Sunday morning. Weekend box office actuals come out on Monday.

Thor vs. Iron Man, Superman, Spider-Man, Batman

Theory: Thor’s domestic box office problem is the lack of the qualifier “man” – that’s why Thor 2 has no chance of reaching the North American box office heights of fellow superheroes Iron Man, Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman.

Data: Directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man 2008 – not a sequel and lacking 3D surcharges – debuted with $98.6 million (approximately $110 million today) in early May 2011. Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill, the Superman reboot Man of Steel opened with $116.6 million earlier this year.

True, the Marc Webb-directed reboot The Amazing Spider-Man, starring Andrew Garfield, opened with a relatively modest $62 million in July 2012, but Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, with Tobey Maguire in the title role, opened with $114.8 million in May 2002 (approximately $159 million today). True, Christopher Nolan’s 3D-less Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale as the beginner, brought in a relatively modest $48.7 million (about $61 million today) in July 2005. But its equally 3D-less sequel opened with $158.4 million in July 2008 (about $177 million today). And let’s not forget Tim Burton’s Batman, starring Michael Keaton, which opened with $40.5 million in June 2009 (about $82 million today).

Conclusion: Thor should be rebaptized Hammer Man. Then watch the God of Thunder’s domestic box office soar all the way to Valhalla.

International market is sequel’s raison d’être

Thor 2 cost a reported $170 million. It has no chance of recovering its budget – let alone its additional marketing and distribution costs (probably around $90 to $100 million) – at the North American box office. But distributor Disney shouldn’t be concerned.

Even without the 3D fanatic and superhero fanatic and cash-rich Chinese market, Thor: The Dark World has already passed the $150 million milestone internationally. Until Friday, after only nine days, the film’s cume was $152.8 million.

Thor 2011 reached $181 million in the U.S. and Canada, and $268.3 million internationally. Thor 2 will easily surpass both figures, possibly reaching about $230–$250 million domestically and $400–$450 million internationally.

Thor: The Dark World cast

Besides Chris Hemsworth in the title role, Oscar winners Natalie Portman (Black Swan, 2010) and Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991), and Tom Hiddleston, Thor: The Dark World features Zachary Levi, Jamie Alexander, Christopher Eccleston, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Tadanobu Asano, Stellan Skarsgård, Rene Russo, Kat Dennings, Clive Russell, Alice Krige, Jonathan Howard, and Chris O’Dowd, in addition to Chris Evans and Benicio Del Toro cameos.

The screenplay is credited to Christopher Yost (of the TV series The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Iron Man: Armored Adventures), and Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, from a screen story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat.

Prior to Thor: The Dark World, Alan Taylor’s previous feature, Kill the Poor, was released a decade ago. Since then, Taylor has been busy on television (Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie, Mad Men). Next in line for him is a remake of James Cameron’s The Terminator (now shortened to Terminator).

Nov. 8

The Avengers bump not likely to lead to $100 million weekend debut

Thor: The Dark World opened with an estimated $7.1 million from Thursday evening, Nov. 7, and Friday midnight shows at 3,841 North American theaters – more than 3,100 of those offering the Thor sequel in 3D. Directed by Alan Taylor, and starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Tom Hiddleston, Thor: The Dark World far surpassed its Kenneth Branagh-directed predecessor at the domestic box office; the first film took in $3.3 million from Friday midnight screenings back in May 2011.

Now, one should remember that we’re comparing apples and pineapples here: the original Thor didn’t have the advantage of Thursday evening shows; also, the Branagh film was initially screened at only 1,800 locations. A similar distribution set-up also applies to another 2011 Marvel release, Captain America: The First Avenger, which raked in $4 million from Friday midnight screenings.

Iron Man box office territory?

Based on its Thursday night box office take, early predictions have Thor: The Dark World debuting in the U.S. and Canada with $90-$95 million, or about 35 percent above the 2011 Thor‘s $65.7 million debut. The Avengers box office bump or no, barring a gigantic Saturday surge and modest Sunday drop, the domestic weekend debut of the latest Marvel fantasy adventure will probably fall short of the $100 million milestone.

In fact, citing early ticket sales, Variety predicts that Thor: The Dark World will collect $31 million on Friday, including the aforementioned $7.1 million from Thursday evening shows. And that would translate into approximately $80-$85 million by Sunday evening. (Variety has that figure pegged at $83 million.) Official Friday box office estimates will be released on Saturday morning.

Now, even if Thor: The Dark World manages to gross more than $90 million domestically on its debut weekend, comparisons to Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man 2008 are absurd: that Jon Favreau-directed film, which collected $98.61 million in early May 2011, wasn’t a sequel, wasn’t in 3D (i.e., no box-office-inflating 3D surcharges), and it would have earned about $110 million in 2013 dollars.

Something else Iron Man 2008 lacked: Captain America: The Winter Soldier extended previews, which are being shown at Thor: The Dark World 3D venues. Starring Chris Evans, the Captain America sequel opens in April 2014.

$150 million milestone internationally

Thor: The Dark World opens in China today. But even without the largest movie market outside the United States, the Thor sequel has already passed the $150 million milestone at the international box office. To date, the Chris Hemsworth film’s total is an astounding $152.8 million after only nine days.

Thor 2011 cumed at $181.03 million in North America and $268.29 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $449.32 million according to figures found at Box Office Mojo.

Chris Hemsworth Thor: The Dark World image: Marvel | Walt Disney Studios.

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1 comment

Dave -

So you are saying that a superhero must have ‘man’ at the end of his name? Seriously?
Then you make a point of how much it will make in North America vs it’s cost? I’m wondering if you felt the same about MOS considering it cost 55 million more that Thor? As profit margins go, it’s looking like Thor will be more profitable than MoS. Yes, that does include international dollars. Your tone suggests that is some how not as good, yet I’m pretty sure they spend the same.
Honestly, the thing I’d be worried about if I was WB is how could a basically unknown like Thor dismantle Superman around the world. It’s nice to still be on top in the US, but the international market is where the growth is. To me, that makes a more important story than what ever point you tried to make here.


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