Thor: Ragnarok brought down the hammer on Friday as the film kicked off its opening weekend. Directed by indie filmmaker Taika Waititi (The Hunt for the Wilderpeople), the latest release from the Marvel Cinematic Universe earned $46.8 million from Friday screenings in the U.S. — including the $14.5 million from Thursday shows.
By comparison, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming — the two other Marvel Studios titles from 2017 — earned approximately $56.3 million and $50.5 million from their respective Friday night turnouts. Doctor Strange, which opened around this time last year, began its opening weekend gross with approximately $32.6 million.
Thor: Ragnarok‘s preliminary numbers put the film on track to earn upwards of $120 million by the end of the weekend, should ticket sales hold steady. It would also make this the highest grosser of the Thor trilogy; Thor finished its opening week with $65.7 million and Thor: The Dark World earned $85.7 million.
Meanwhile, A Bad Moms Christmas, which premiered on Wednesday, earned $5.51 million on Friday for a domestic cumulative total of about $10 million.
Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as Marvel’s thunder from Down Under in Thor: Ragnarok, which features Cate Blanchett as Hela. After his first face-off with the Goddess of Death, Thor is flung through space to the planet Sakaar, where he’s forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena against Hulk (Bruce Banner), who’s been on Sakaar since he went flying off at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Jeff Goldblum, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, and Benedict Cumberbatch also feature in the film, which is one of the most highly reviewed Marvel films on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics praised the comedy of Thor: Ragnarok, though some found issues with character and general Marvel formula.
“Thankfully, the newest — and unquestionably funniest — big-screen Marvel adventure, Thor: Ragnarok, seems hellbent on finally unleashing Hemsworth’s real secret weapon: his humor,” EW’s Chris Nashawaty writes. “With the exception of Deadpool and the Guardians of the Galaxy films, Ragnarok may be the only Marvel-hero movie that feels like it’s first and foremost a comedy. And on those terms — and those terms only — it’s a triumph.”