After the worst October at the box office in a decade, theaters needed a cinematic spark—in that sense, Thor: Ragnarok and the God of Thunder delivered. In its first weekend, the third Thor movie soared to $121 million at the domestic box office, the fourth-highest opening of the year and the seventh-best Marvel opening ever.
It’s not hard to see why Ragnarok had such a stellar debut. For starters, any movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to bring people to the theater; even 2011’s Thor, relatively speaking one of the least successful Marvel movies at the box office, made $344 million globally in its first two weekends. Add in rapturous praise from critics calling Ragnarok one of the funniest and most entertaining movies in the MCU, and, yeah, people are going to show up to watch Thor take on the Incredible Hulk in a space gladiator fight orchestrated by Jeff Goldblum.
Ragnarok’s strong opening should revitalize the box office for the rest of the year, which combines Oscar hopefuls (Call Me by Your Name, Phantom Thread—Daniel Day-Lewis’s supposed final movie) with similarly big blockbusters (Justice League, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) for the holiday season.
Speaking of the holiday season, that apparently began this past weekend—with some success. A Bad Moms Christmas—arguably the Thor: Ragnarok of R-rated comedies about moms giving no fucks—brought in $21.5 million for its five-day domestic gross (the film opened Wednesday instead of Friday). Combined with its early global box office haul, Bad Moms Christmas has already made around $28 million, which, coincidentally, is the film’s budget. Assuming it continues at a respectable pace in the next few weeks and turns a profit, the Bad Moms cinematic universe has a promising future—maybe enough for eight increasingly absurd sequels.
This weekend, however, wasn’t just a win for wide releases. A24’s new comedy, Lady Bird, debuted in four theaters this weekend—two in Los Angeles and two in New York—to $375,612. With a per-screen average of $93,903, it’s the best limited opening of the year with the highest per-screen average, besting Amazon Studios’ The Big Sick from earlier this year. A24 is citing “sensational” word-of-mouth for the movie—a coming-of-age film starring Saoirse Ronan, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, and set in Sacramento, California—which also has a 100 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics. The Ringer’s own K. Austin Collins says Lady Bird “achieves liftoff and never looks back,” and is the type of movie you want to keep on watching. Gerwig and A24 must be thrilled to see Lady Bird come out of the gate so strong—its numbers will surely only grow as it hits more theaters and picks up more Oscar buzz.
Despite October’s historic box office woes, the box office appears to be reinvigorated once more. All we needed was yet another Marvel movie, a universally acclaimed indie dramedy, and a bunch of drunk moms ogling stripping Santas. In other words, your typical batch of holiday movies.