‘Thor’ ham­mers ‘Daddy’s Home 2,’ ‘Ori­ent’

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - KICKOFF -

LOS AN­GE­LES — The God of Thun­der isn’t ready to re­lin­quish his box of­fice throne yet.

Stu­dios es­ti­mated Sun­day that “Thor: Rag­narok” added $56.6 mil­lion from North Amer­i­can the­aters in its sec­ond week­end, bring­ing its do­mes­tic to­tal to $211.6 mil­lion.

The film, from Dis­ney and Marvel and di­rected by Taika Waititi, out-grossed each of its two pre­de­ces­sors do­mes­ti­cally in just two weeks, not ac­count­ing for in­fla­tion.

It eas­ily beat out the com­edy se­quel “Daddy’s Home 2” and the lav­ish Agatha Christie adap­ta­tion “Mur­der on the Ori­ent Ex­press,” even as both posted solid open­ings.

Paramount scored again with “Daddy’s Home 2,” which adds John Lith­gow and Mel Gib­son to the Will Fer­rell and Mark Wahlberg for­mula. The film, which cost a re­ported $69 mil­lion to pro­duce, took sec­ond place at the box of­fice with $30 mil­lion. The first film from 2015 grossed $242.8 mil­lion world­wide on a sim­i­lar bud­get.

Crit­ics were not won over by the com­edy, but au­di­ences seemed pleased, giv­ing the film an A- Cinema-Score.

The star-stud­ded “Mur­der on the Ori­ent Ex­press,” mean­while, screeched into third place with an es­ti­mated $28.2 mil­lion against a $55 mil­lion bud­get. Ken­neth Branagh di­rects him­self in the film, which also stars Michelle Pfeif­fer, Johnny Depp, Daisy Ri­d­ley and Judi Dench.

Au­di­ences were mostly fe­male (56 per­cent), and Cau­casian (65 per­cent), but some­what evenly split in terms of age (51 per­cent were over 35).

“It gives me an in­cred­i­ble in­jec­tion of op­ti­mism for the fu­ture of our busi­ness. This is sump­tu­ous, throw­back Hol­ly­wood film­mak­ing and au­di­ences re­sponded to it,” said Chris Aron­son, pres­i­dent of do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion for Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury Fox.

The stu­dio ex­pects the film to play well through the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day, ap­peal­ing to au­di­ences who are not rush­ing out to see the lat­est comic book ad­ven­ture. Next week, DC and Warner Bros.’ su­per­hero en­sem­ble pic “Jus­tice League” opens.

“I don’t think our au­di­ences will over­lap a lot,” Aron­son added.

“A Bad Moms Christ­mas” took fourth with $11.5 mil­lion in its sec­ond week­end and “Jig­saw” rounded out the top five with $3.4 mil­lion.

In smaller re­leases, Greta Ger­wig’s buzzy com­ing-of-age film “Lady Bird,” from dis­trib­u­tor A24, also broke into the top 10 in its ex­pan­sion to 37 the­aters, earn­ing $1.2 mil­lion. An­other awards con­tender, “Three Bill­boards Out­side Eb­bing, Mis­souri,” star­ring Frances McDor­mand, opened to a strong lim­ited re­lease with $320,000 from just four the­aters.

Still, the over­all box of­fice con­tin­ues to lag, down 5 per­cent for the year.

“We’re still down from the same week­end a year ago about 7 per­cent. De­spite ‘Thor’ and these new­com­ers a lot of these films aren’t cre­at­ing a lot of ex­cite­ment,” said com-Score se­nior me­dia an­a­lyst Paul Der­garabe­dian. “It’s go­ing to take this com­bi­na­tion of ‘Jus­tice League’ and ‘The Last Jedi’ and ev­ery­thing in be­tween to try to dig us out of this deficit.”

Marvel Stu­dios / As­so­ci­ated Press

This im­age re­leased by Marvel Stu­dios shows Chris Hemsworth and the Hulk in a scene from, “Thor: Rag­narok.”

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