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‘Thor: Ragnarok’ hammers the competition to win another box office weekend

Thor: Ragnarok
It was another big weekend for Marvel Studios’ god of thunder, with Thor: Ragnarok reigning supreme at the box office for the second consecutive week.

The celebrated superhero sequel from director Taika Waititi needed just two weeks to pass the domestic and worldwide ticket sales for both previous installments of the solo Thor series, and the film’s positive reviews and impressive word-of-mouth buzz should help push it into the top tier of Marvel’s cinematic universe in the months to come. Ragnarok is currently the ninth highest-grossing movie of the year in U.S. theaters and the 10th highest-grossing movie worldwide — and because it’s a point worth repeating, the film has hit those lofty marks after just two weeks in theaters.

Although the news wasn’t quite as good for the weekend’s two major new releases, it certainly wasn’t bad, either.

# Title  Weekend    U.S. Total   Worldwide Total 
1. Thor: Ragnarok $56.6M $211.5M $650M
2. Daddy’s Home 2 $30M $30M $30.4M
3. Murder on the Orient Express $28.2M $28.2M $85.4M
4. A Bad Moms Christmas $11.5M $39.8M $46.5M
5. Jigsaw $3.4M $34.3M $79M
6. Boo 2! A Madea Halloween $2M $45.9M $46.6M
7. Geostorm $1.5M $31.6M $199M
8. Blade Runner 2049 $1.4M $88M $243M
9. Happy Death Day $1.3M $54.9M $88.1M
10. Lady Bird $1.2M $1.7M $1.7M

The comedy sequel Daddy’s Home 2 debuted in second place over the weekend and managed to outperform pundits’ predictions with a respectable $30 million premiere. Professional critics hated the movie, which brings back Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg from the 2015 film and adds Mel Gibson and John Lithgow to the cast, but audiences liked it well enough to give it an “A-” grade overall (via audience polling site CinemaScore). That warm welcome from opening weekend audiences and the movie’s holiday theme will likely extend its run for a while, so it’s off to a good start in covering its surprisingly high $69 million price tag.

The ensemble mystery Murder on the Orient Express premiered in third place, but earned considerably better reviews from professional critics (58-percent positive reviews on RottenTomatoes) on its way to a similarly better-than-expected opening weekend. On the flip side, however, Orient Express wasn’t received as well by audiences as Daddy’s Home 2, and managed a less-impressive “B” grade on CinemaScore. It will be interesting to see how the film plays internationally as time goes on, given its high-profile cast that includes Johnny Depp, Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

The rest of the weekend’s films were all returning projects, but one big surprise was the $1.2 million weekend for Lady Bird, the comedy-drama written and directed by Greta Gurwig (GreenbergFrances Ha). The film is currently in limited release and was screened in just 37 theaters over the weekend, giving it a massive $33,766 per-theater average. The movie is earning heaps of praise and some heavy award buzz, and its ticket sales seem to suggest that this isn’t the last we’ll hear of it.

This upcoming week is a big one for superhero showdowns, as Warner Bros. Pictures brings its team-up film Justice League to theaters, hoping to build on the positive momentum created by Wonder Woman earlier this year. Justice League director Zack Snyder’s previous two films in the studio’s DC Comics superhero universe — Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice — fell short of their potential both critically and commercially, but Wonder Woman was a massive success on both fronts, so it’s anyone’s guess how Justice League will fare. The fact that it’s going up against Thor: Ragnarok probably doesn’t help its cause, but WB’s superhero movies have typically made a big splash on opening weekend, so history is with it in that respect.

Also premiering this week is the family drama Wonder and the animated feature The Star, which offers a cartoon spin on the Biblical story of Christmas.

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Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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