Thor: Love and Thunder Continues Marvel’s Worst Phase 4 Box Office Trend

Since the Covid pandemic there have been few movies guaranteed to boost the box office than a new Marvel Studios release. However, as Thor: Love and Thunder passes its second weekend, there is a clear trend that is continuing to appear with every new MCU release, and it isn’t necessarily a good one. Like May’s release of Doctor Stranger in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder has followed up a massive opening weekend with a similarly mighty drop in audience numbers in its second weekend in cinemas.

Thor: Love and Thunder is Chris Hemsworth’s first solo outing since Thor: Ragnarok hit cinemas in 2018 and became one of Marvel’s $1 billion babies. Teaming Hemsworth back up with director Taika Waititi, Thor: Love and Thunder brings Natalie Portman back to the franchise as Jane Foster, features Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, and introduces the amazing Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher and Russell Crowe as a fun take on Zeus. While this all sounds like the perfect recipe for a blockbuster movie, with mixed reviews and a 68% second week box office drop, it seems that Thor has continued the Phase 4 trend that no-one wanted to see.

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Last weekend, Thor: Love and Thunder opened to a $144 million domestic box office, but its second weekend is looking to struggle to around a $46.5 million. This kind of huge drop has been mirrored across a number of recent releases including Black Widow, the aforementioned Doctor Strange 2 and even the mighty Spider-Man: No Way Home. Of course, one reason for this is that many fans rush to see Marvel movies on their release to avoid the string of spoilers that start appearing online within days, and sometimes hours, of the first viewings. With this kind of flocking pushing up first weekend audience numbers, there is a larger initial gross for the second week to hold up against.

The MCU’s Phase 4 Is Being Hurt By Fan Expectation

There is no doubt that Thor: Love and Thunder has split fan opinions, with many calling the film disjointed and badly edited, while others have praised it for its bombastic, loud and undaunted vibes. However, one thing that has come across again in many reviews by both critics and audiences is that people expected more than they have been given.

This is another common thread running through many of Marvel’s recent releases, with the promise of the multiverse leading many to expect multiple realities and dozens of cameo appearances in every film, as well as something on an epic Endgame scale every time. However, this is clearly not going to happen, and Phase 4 is almost an interim period in the MCU, a closing of the Infinity Saga and slow build into the next saga, but fans need to be patient.

Kevin Feige has teased that a roadmap of what lies ahead for the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be revealed in the next couple of months, and perhaps that will give fans some of the answers they have been looking for as to what they can expect in the coming years of the franchise. With several other movies coming in the next year all featuring returning heroes, everyone will be hoping that the recent second week dip is only a temporary trend.