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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.
Opening midweek, the R-rated comedy grossed $2 million from 3,615 locations on Thursday for a two-day total of $4.52 million, and a projected five-day debut of $20 million or more. The first Bad Moms opened to $23.8 million.
The holiday-themed sequel reunites Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn, this time pairing them with their own mothers, played by Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski and Susan Sarandon. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore returned to direct the sequel, which has been spurned by the majority of critics.
Elsewhere, a number of films vying for awards attention debut in select theaters.
LBJ, debuting in 659 theaters, looks to earn $1 million for the weekend. Directed by Rob Reiner, the political biopic stars Woody Harrelson as the titular president. Richard Jenkins, Bill Pullman and Jennifer Jason Leigh are also among the cast. Electric Entertainment is releasing the indie film.
At the specialty box office, A24 opens Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet, in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles.
Last Flag Flying, directed by Richard Linklater and starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne, likewise rolls out in the two cities. Amazon Studios partnered with Lionsgate on the film’s theatrical release.
Nov. 3, 12 p.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.