Thor: Ragnarok exploded at the box office this weekend, opening with $121M in North America. That total could go a little higher by the time it’s finalized tomorrow, but Marvel Studios can go ahead and start celebrating now. Thor: Ragnarok has now earned $427M worldwide and cemented 2017 as the definitely the biggest and probably the best year ever for the studio.
Marvel Studios released three films this year, all of which had opening weekends over $100M domestically. Thor: Ragnarok comes in second, behind Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146.5M) and ahead of Spider-Man: Homecoming ($117M). That’s impressive enough, but what makes 2017 the biggest year ever for Marvel Studios is that all three of those films have combined for $2.17B at the worldwide box office. That breaks Marvel Studios’ previous record of $1.93B in 2015, the combined worldwide total of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man.
This is the first year Marvel Studios has ever released more than two films, so it’s not that surprising to see the record broken. What is worth recognizing, though, is how completely shattered the 2015 record will be by Marvel Studios’ 2017 performance.
To break the 2015 record, Marvel Studios’ three films this year needed to average $641.6M per film worldwide. Instead, they are currently averaging $732.5M and Thor: Ragnarok is just getting started. It should have no problem clearing $700M worldwide and could eclipse $800M and join both GotG Vol. 2 ($863.6M) and Spider-Man: Homecoming ($879.9M) above that milestone. Either way, Thor: Ragnarok will have little trouble making sure Marvel Studios averages at least $800M per film in 2017.
Sure, that won’t top Marvel Studios’ 2015 average of $962.4M per film, but most of that 2015 average came from Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.41B) while Ant-Man chipped in a very respectable $519.3M (we won’t worry about 2012’s average since The Avengers, which brought in $1.52B, was the studio’s only release that year). There was no Avengers movie this year to hold up 2017 for Marvel Studios, so the level of consistency this year is beyond impressive.
Only once has the studio released more than one film that made over $700M worldwide in the same year with Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($714.3M) and Guardians of the Galaxy ($773.3M) in 2014. This year, the studio has two films over $800M already, something they had never done, with a third guaranteed to surpass $700M and likely to join the $800M club. This is Marvel Studios in a box office groove like we’ve never seen in a single calendar year.
Thor: Ragnarok will need some legs to reach $800M, but it’s off to a blazing start domestically and internationally. The film opened with $55M in China, already matching the total box office of Thor: The Dark World ($55.3M) in the Middle Kingdom. Ragnarok should clear $90M there, as most Marvel Studios films do nowadays, and could crack $100M.
The dollars and cents say that 2017 is Marvel Studios’ biggest year while the critical and audience response indicate that it is also the studio’s best. As of this writing, Thor: Ragnarok currently sits at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes while Spider-Man: Homecoming scored 92% and GotG Vol. 2 earned 82% approval from critics. Mainstream moviegoers were just as happy, grading all three films an “A” in CinemaScore polls.
For nearly a decade, Marvel Studios has been a model of consistency unlike any other in Hollywood. Through 17 feature films, studio has delivered at the box office, along with critics and general audiences. Marvel Studios has taken it to another level in 2017 and the studio may just do it all over again, only bigger and better, in 2018.