Weekend Box Office: 'Thor: Ragnarok' Thundering to $118M U.S. Debut

Thor: Ragnarok Still 3 - Publicity - H 2017
Jasin Boland/Marvel Studios

At the specialty box office, 'Lady Bird' will post one of the best theater averages of the year to date after scoring a perfect 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Notch another victory for Disney and Marvel Studios.

Nabbing an A CinemaScore, Thor: Ragnarok grossed a thunderous $46.8 million on Friday for a projected $117 million-$118 million U.S. debut, well ahead of the first two films in the franchise and one of the top showings of the year to date. Among 2017 superhero titles, Spider-Man: Homecoming opened to $117 million this summer, while Wonder Woman launched to $103.3 million. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is tops with $146.5 million.

Overseas, Thor: Ragnarok is also making headlines in China and other major markets, grossing north of $200 million to date internationally (it began rolling out offshore last weekend).

Directed by acclaimed New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, the threequel stars Chris Hemsworth as the god of thunder alongside franchise regulars Tom HiddlestonIdris Elba and Anthony Hopkins. Thor: Ragnarok is also cross-pollinated with fellow Marvel superheroes The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), while Cate Blanchett stars as the villainous Hela, the goddess of death.

In May 2011, Thor launched to $65.7 million domestically, while the follow-up Thor: The Dark World earned $85.7 million in its November 2013 bow.

STXfilms' A Bad Moms Christmas is the weekend's other new nationwide offering.

Having opened midweek, the R-rated comedy is looking at a projected five-day debut of roughly $20 million after getting spurned by many critics and earning a B CinemaScore from audiences. The first Bad Moms, which earned an A CinemaScore, 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 follow-up. 

Elsewhere, a number of films vying for awards attention are opening in select theaters.

LBJ, debuting in 659 theaters, looks set 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, which likely will post one of the top theater averages of the year between $70,000 and $80,000 after scoring a perfect 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The dramedy, which is bowing in four theaters in Los Angeles and New York, stars Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet,

Last Flag Flying, directed by Richard Linklater and starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne, likewise is rolling out in L.A. and New York. Amazon Studios partnered with Lionsgate on the film, which is projected to post a screen average in the $9,000-$10,000 range.

Cannes Palme d'Or winner The Square is eyeing a theater average of roughly $5,000 as it opens in 19 theaters. Magnolia is handling the satirical drama.