Disney and Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok is swinging a heavy hammer at the box office in a needed boost for Hollywood and theater owners following a miserable October.
The superhero film is on course to gross $40 million-plus on Friday for a weekend debut north of $100 million, according to early returns. Friday’s haul will include $14.5 million from Thursday night previews.
Directed by acclaimed Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth as the god of thunder alongside franchise regulars Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins, as well as new additions Jeff Goldblum and Tessa Thompson. The superhero movie is also populated with a few fellow Marvel superheroes — The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) — while Cate Blanchett stars as the villainous Hela, goddess of death.
The threequel, playing in 4,080 theaters this weekend, looks to come in well ahead of the first two films, no small feat considering many franchises are seeing diminished returns.
Thor launched to $65.7 million in May 2011, while sequel Thor: The Dark World earned $85.7 million in its November 2013 opening.
On Friday morning, Thor: Ragnarok boasted a 93 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the best scores for any film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Overseas, Thor opened to a thunderous $109 million last weekend from about 50 percent of the international marketplace.
It debuts in the rest of the world, including China, this weekend. Its international grosses through Thursday is $164.5 million.