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‘Thor’ stays No 1, while ‘Crawdads’ opens strong

NEW YORK (AP) – The Marvel sequel Thor: Love and Thunder dropped a hefty 68 per cent in its second weekend of release but still held the top spot at the box office, according to studio estimates on Sunday, while the bestseller adaptation Where the Crawdads Sing debuted with a better-than-expected USD17 million.

Taika Waititi’s Love and Thunder led all films with an estimated USD46 million, bringing its two-week global total to USD498 million.

The sizable decline is more than most Marvel films but in line with recent releases from the Walt Disney Co superhero studio, including Spider-Man: No Way Home (68 per cent), Black Widow (68 per cent) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (67 per cent).

Love and Thunder also faced a trio of newcomers, though none came close to toppling Chris Hemsworth’s god of thunder.

Best among them was Sony Pictures’ Where the Crawdads Sing, Olivia Newman’s adaptation of Delia Owens’ 2018 North Carolina-set novel. It opened well despite weak reviews (36 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes).

The Reese Witherspoon-produced mystery stars Daisy Edgar-Jones as a woman who raised herself in the coastal Carolina marshlands and focusses on a murder investigation of a local celebrity.

Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in a scene from ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’. PHOTOS: AP
Daisy Edgar-Jones and Taylor John Smith in ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’

Moviegoers liked it better than critics, giving it an A- CinemaScore.

It was a particularly good result for a page-to-screen drama, and another sign that adult audiences – who have also helped fuel the success of Top Gun: Maverick (still in fourth place with USD12 million in its eighth weekend) and Elvis (up to USD106.2 million after four weeks) – are nearly all the way back to pre-pandemic levels after going largely absent for much of the last two-plus years.

Appealing to a similar demographic, Focus Features’ Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, starring Lesley Manville as a London cleaner who pines for a Dior dress, also opened strongly, with USD1.9 million in 980 theatres.

Focus Distribution Chief Lisa Bunnell said, “Older movie-goers are returning to enjoy the in-theatre experience.”

Meanwhile, the Illumination animated sequel Minions: The Rise of Gru held the second spot with USD26 million in its third weekend of release.

The Universal Pictures release has thus far grossed USD262.6 million domestically and USD532.7 million worldwide, setting box-office records along the way.

The Minions made it difficult for a new family entry: Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank. The Paramount Pictures animated release, loosely adapted from Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles, launched with a modest USD6.3 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at United States and Canadian theatres, according to Comscore:

1. Thor: Love and Thunder, USD46 million.
2. Minions: The Rise of Gru, USD26 million.
3. Where the Crawdads Sing, USD17 million.
4. Top Gun: Maverick, USD12 million.
5. Elvis, USD7.6 million.
6. Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, USD6.3 million
7. The Black Phone, USD5.3 million.
8. Jurassic: Dominion, USD5 million.
9. Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, USD1.9 million.
10. Lightyear, USD1.3 million.