For a movie that is the most expensive non-Avengers Marvel Cinematic Universe film to date, this is not the performance that Marvel Studios expected nor wanted for Thor: Love & Thunder.

Natalie Portman as The Mighty Thor in Marvel Studios’ THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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Thor: Love & Thunder is the #1 movie in the world for the second consecutive week. However, the overall box office haul has Disney executives wondering if they are going to get anywhere close to the return on investment that they believed. The film suffered a 68% drop for its second weekend at the box office for a total haul of $46 million dollars.

This ranks among the MCU’s worst 2nd weekend drop-offs, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (-67%) and Black Widow (-68%). The current worldwide total for the film sits at $497.9 million after two weeks, with $264.6 million internationally and $233.3 million in the United States. However, insiders claim the film will have to hit the $700 million dollar worldwide mark just to break even, given the massive costs associated with production.

Marvel spent $250 million dollars on the production of the film alone. While it is expected to hit that mark, the performance will be considered a major disappointment for Marvel Studios who were expecting a billion dollars from the film starring one of the founding members of the MCU’s Avengers team.

Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Thor Love and Thunder (2022) 3

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Thor: Love & Thunder is expected to perform far below what Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness did, which has grossed over $950 million dollars towards the end of its theatrical run. Both movies pale in comparison to 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, which grossed over $1.9 billion dollars in theaters worldwide.

Love & Thunder has a long way to go if it wants to reach the top 3 in the domestic United States box office this year. As of this writing, the film is $30 million dollars behind Universal Pictures’ Minions: The Rise of Gru for the #5 spot. Universal Pictures also holds the #4 spot with Jurassic World Dominion which has collected $360 million in the US after surpassing $900 million dollars in their total worldwide gross.

Warner Bros Discovery’s The Batman is at #3 with $370 million in the US. Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures’ Top Gun: Maverick is running away from the pack at #1 with over $620 million dollars domestically, over $200 million dollars above Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Source: Top Gun Maverick (2021), Paramount Pictures

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Marvel Studios’ “Phase 4” of their longest-running cinematic soap opera has been a major disappointment for audiences, and has been criticized for its lack of overall direction. 2021 saw the release of numerous films that failed to strike a chord with audiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, like Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Eternals.

After those films barely broke even for Marvel, they got a massive push from Spiderman: No Way Home. However, that film was distributed by Sony Pictures, not Disney. Audience reactions to Doctor Strange 2 and Thor 4 have led many to question the direction of the MCU moving forward. Next up for Marvel Studios is the Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever, scheduled for a November release. Marvel Studios is expected to release its first footage of the film during San Diego Comic-Con.

Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in Marvel Studios’ BLACK WIDOW, in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

2023 will see the release of the next line of MCU films including Ant Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, The Marvels, and the reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise. 

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