Thor: Ragnarok smashes the box office — The numbers behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe's success

Here's a close look at the box office numbers of the various Marvel Cinematic Universe films in India.

FP Staff November 08, 2017 09:29:42 IST
Thor: Ragnarok smashes the box office — The numbers behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe's success

The God of Thunder wielded his mighty hammer and smashed the box office over the weekend. Thor: Ragnarok, the third instalment of the titular superhero's intergalactic exploits, scored a franchise best with a whopping $431.1 million global debut.

The 17th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) shows how The Walt Disney Company-owned studio went from playing second fiddle to its arch-rival DC Comics to a financial superhero.

Its $5.2M opening in India, $55.6 in China and $10.8m in Mexico proves it is an internationally lucrative phenomenon. They might have taken away his hammer and given him a more schoolboy haircut but the God of Thunder still kicks ass against the backdrop of Led Zeppelin and candy-coloured visuals.

Thor Ragnarok smashes the box office  The numbers behind the Marvel Cinematic Universes success

Thor: Ragnarok thundered to one of the year's best box-office debuts with an estimated $121 million globally. AP

While 2011's Thor debuted with $65.7 million and 2013's Thor: The Dark World opened with $85.7 million, Thor: Ragnarok bucked the trend of diminishing returns for sequels to not only a record opening week but also received plenty of positive reviews.

"In this business, it's not often you see the second and third installments in the franchise outpacing the previous issue," David Hollis, Disney's distribution chief, told AP. "You don't expect never-ending returns when it comes to sequels, but it definitely speaks to the quality of the talent at the Marvel Studios team and the way they're thinking about each film out of the gate."

The studio celebrated its first hat-trick of $100 million-plus domestic openings in one calendar year — following the success of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The MCU was the brainchild of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who wanted to create a shared universe akin to what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did in their comics in the 1960s. Feige hoped to introduce the Marvel superheroes with their own respective film franchises and then have them come together in The Avengers franchise in roughly set phases.

Phase 1 — starting with Iron Man (2008) and culminating in The Avengers (2012) — grossed $3.8 billion ($3,811,026,406) worldwide. Phase 2 — starting with Iron Man 3 (2013) and culminating with Ant-Man (2015) grossed $5.2 billion. The ongoing Phase 3, which began with the release of Captain America: Civil War (2016), has already raked in nearly $1.5 billion at the box office.

The release of Iron Man in 2008 started a superhero revolution and in the course of their 17 cinematic offerings, Marvel's sprawling, interconnected universe has grown on audiences worldwide — comic book geeks or otherwise. Bar the CGI overdose and derivative plots, fans love the banter between characters, the self-referential humour and the easter eggs. Only, at the end of an MCU film, will you find audiences glued to the seat even after the credits start rolling — waiting for some post-credits scenes.

Even films that don't share the MCU have done remarkably well at the box office. The X-Men franchise (including spin-offs like Deadpool) has grossed nearly $5 billion worldwide and is the seventh highest-grossing film series. Despite being rated A by the CBFC, Deadpool grossed more than $2.6 million in India while Logan made $3.4 million.

The huge Thor opening also cemented the unlikely breakthrough of New Zealand director Taika Waititi, who shepherded the $180 million production to Marvel's best reviews since Iron Man. Waititi, 42, is a veteran of the cult comedy series Flight of the Concords and has previously directed largely offbeat irreverent indies like the deadpan vampire tale What We Do in the Shadows and the oddball outlaw comedy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople."

Yet Thor: Ragnarok, from a screenplay by Eric Pearson, had no such troubles in returning Chris Hemsworth in the titular role along with franchise regular Tom Hiddleston as the duplicitous adopted brother Loki.

It may not get the same affection lavished on Iron Man or Spiderman or The Avengers, but the Thor franchise looks set to complete yet another wonderful year for Marvel and its cinematic universe.

— With inputs from agencies

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