The Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought forth another box office bonanza as the Walt Disney Co.’s DIS “Thor: Love and Thunder” commanded the U.S. box office this weekend with $143 million in ticket sales from 4,375 theaters.
What Happened: The new film’s opening outpaces the $122.7 million that the predecessor “Thor: Ragnarok” accumulated in 2017. In the overseas markets, “Thor: Love and Thunder” rang up an additional $150 million.
Last week’s top grossing film, “Minions: Rise of Gru” from Comcast Corp.’s CMCSA Universal Pictures finished second at the box office with $45.5 million from 4,427 theaters. Paramount’s PARAA “Top Gun: Maverick” held on to third place in its seventh week of theatrical release with $15.5 million from 3,513 screens.
Rounding out the top five grossing films was Warner Bros.’ WBD “Elvis” with $11 million from 3,714 theaters and Universal’s “Jurassic World Dominion” with $8.4 million from 3,251 venues.
Independent distributor A24 quietly racked up another specialty market hit with the offbeat animated feature “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” which ranked eighth among the weekend’s top grossing films with $340,000 from 48 theaters. Now in its third week of release, the film has accumulated $963,400 at the U.S. box office. A24’s other quirky offering, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” placed tenth with $241,100 from 286 screens, which brings its 16-week theatrical run to a box office total of $67.6 million.
What Happens Next: There are no big blockbuster films scheduled to open next weekend, although the coming slate of new releases is certainly intriguing.
Paramount’s “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” is an animated comic adventure about a dog who finds himself as a samurai-style defender of a village full of cats. The film was inspired by Mel Brooks’ 1974 classic “Blazing Saddles” and Brooks is part of the stellar voice actor line-up that includes Michael Cera, Samuel L. Jackson, Michelle Yeoh and Ricky Gervais.
A very different animated feature opening next weekend is the Japanese import “The Deer King,” based on the fantasy novel series by Nahoko Uehash. This tale follows the last surviving member of a warrior clan who escapes imprisonment in a salt mine with a young girl, only to find himself in a grisly environment where a mysterious plague has decimated the population. GKIDS is releasing the film in North America.
Sony Pictures’ SONY “Where the Crawdads Sing” is adapted from the 2018 mystery novel by Delia Owens. Despite its North Carolina setting, three of the leading actors –Daisy Edgar-Jones, Harris Dickinson and Michael Hyatt – are British. Taylor Swift wrote and performed the film’s theme song “Carolina.”
Comcast’s Focus Features offers a film version of Paul Gallico’s 1958 novel “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” which follows a British housekeeper (played by Lesley Manville) whose dream of owning a chic couture Dior dress takes her on an adventure to Paris.
Other new films opening in limited release include Vertical Entertainment’s crime thriller “Wrong Place” starring Bruce Willis, Greenwich Entertainment’s Holocaust-focused documentary “From Where They Stood” and Briarcliff Entertainment's documentary “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” about the 2011 assassination attempt on the Arizona congresswoman.
Also Worth Noting: Two veteran characters with long and memorable careers have moved on to the great screening room in the sky.
Joe Turkel died on June 27 at the age of 94. Turkel’s career began in 1949 with a small role in the juvenile delinquency drama “City Across the River” and spanned through 1982 when he played Dr. Tyrell in Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner.”
Turkel’s presence always enlivened the productions where he was featured, and director Stanley Kubrick tapped him for memorable supporting parts in three films – “The Killing” (1956), “Paths of Glory” (1958) and, in what might have been his most famous role, as the ghostly bartender in “The Shining.”
L.Q. Jones died on July 9 at the age of 94. His career that began with the 1955 Raoul Walsh film “Battle Cry” and concluded with the 2006 Robert Altman film “A Prairie Home Companion,” and Sam Peckinpah cast Jones in his western classics “Ride the High Country,” “Major Dundee,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Ride the High Country,” “The Battle of Cable Hogue” and “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.”
Jones also worked behind the camera as a director, most notably with his 1975 adaptation of Harlan Ellison’s post-apocalyptic “A Boy and His Dog,” which was initially panned by critics and mostly overlooked by audiences but has since emerged as a cult classic within the genre of dystopian cinema.
Photo of "Thor: Love and Thunder" courtesy of Disney
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