LOS ANGELES: Showing plenty of staying power, Disney-Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok is dominating the North American box office with US$56.6 million at 4,080 locations in its second weekend.
The figure give the third Thor movie the 29th highest second weekend of all time and the fifth best of 2017. It also took in nearly the combined total of the two new titles - Paramount's family comedy Daddy's Home 2, with US$30 million from 3,575 sites and Fox's mystery Murder on the Orient Express with US$28.2 million at 3,341 venues.
Thor: Ragnarok, starring Chris Hemsworth and directed by Taika Waititi, declined 54 per cent from its US$122.7 million opening last weekend and is already the ninth highest domestic grosser of 2017 with US$211.6 million in its first 10 days. It's also been a stellar international performer with US$438 million in less than three weeks - topping US$650 million worldwide.
On Nov 8, Thor: Ragnarok became the 12th consecutive Marvel Cinematic Universe film to top US$500 million worldwide.
The movie has reversed a box office slump that persisted through October and left 2017's overall domestic moviegoing down 5 per cent from last year at US$9.14 billion as of Sunday (Nov 12).
With Warner Bros' Justice League opening next weekend, Disney-Pixar's Coco on Nov 22 and Star Wars: The Last Jedi launching on Dec 15, the industry is now poised to end the year on an upbeat note. The overall weekend totaled about US$148 million, down 6 per cent from the same frame in 2016, according to comScore.
"Now it will take the dream team of Justice League, Coco and of course The Last Jedi and a host of other films big and small to rally the industry toward a year end total that could rival last year's record US$11.4 billion," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore. "The clock is ticking and there's not a lot of time left on the calendar to make up the difference."
Daddy's Home 2 is performing at the high end of recent forecasts and is finishing about 23 per cent below the original's US$38.7 million opening in 2015. Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell reprise their roles as fathers co-parenting the children of Wahlberg's character who struggle to cope when their fathers, played by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow, arrive during the holiday season. The film carries a US$70 million budget.
The original went on to gross US$150 million domestically. Paramount's distribution president Kyle Davies pointed to an A- CinemaScore as an indication that the Daddy's Home 2 is resonating with all demographics and should perform well in coming weeks.
"We are well-positioned heading into the holiday season with a movie for audiences from 8 to 80," he added.
Murder on the Orient Express has also launched above expectations. Kenneth Branagh stars as detective Hercule Poirot in the latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's story of a murder mystery on a luxury train in the 1930s. The cast has plenty of star power with Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr and Star Wars: The Force Awakens actress Daisy Ridley.
Murder on the Orient Express, which has a US$55 million budget, also pulled in US$45.8 million in 25,903 international screens, lifting its overseas total to US$57.2 million.
STXfilms' A Bad Moms Christmas finished fourth with US$11.5 million at 3,615 locations in its second weekend, showing impressive holding power with a decline of only 31 per cent. The film has grossed nearly US$40 million in its first 12 days.
A24's expansion of Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird cracked the top 10 with US$1.2 million on 37 screens for an impressive US$33,776 per screen average. The comedy-drama posted the best 2017 platform opening last weekend with US$364,437 at four sites.
Fox Searchlight's platform release of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, starring Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson, opened with a strong US$320,000 at four locations. McDormand plays a small town mother taking on the local police force after her daughter's rape and murder goes uninvestigated for several months.