The Chris Hemsworth -starrer 'Thor: Love and Thunder' is hammering competition at the US box office, projecting an opening collection of $135 million from 4,375 American theatres.
According to 'Variety', that would be a step up from the stormy superhero's previous solo outing, 'Thor: Ragnarok', which opened to $122.7 million in 2017.
Should estimates hold, 'Love and Thunder' will mark the 12th biggest debut for a Marvel Cinematic Universe entry, between 2017's 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' ($146.5 million) and 2010's 'Iron Man 2' ($128.1 million).
It would also score the third highest three-day domestic opening of the year, behind 'Jurassic World Dominion' ($145 million) and own 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' ($187.4 million).
The fourth installment in Thor's MCU story got off to a mighty strong start with a $69.5 million gross on opening day, which includes $29 million in Thursday previews, reports Variety'
As is the case with any Marvel Studios film, 'Love and Thunder' cost a pretty penny, carrying a $250 million production price tag. And, as is the case with almost any Marvel Studios film, it shouldn't be long before the movie recoups those costs in global ticket sales.
Critics have been much less receptive to 'Love and Thunder' than the usual Marvel entry. The film currently holds a 51 per cent approval aggregate from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
Variety chief film critic Owen Gleiberman enjoyed the entry though, praising Taika Waititi's direction for having "the wit to see that if you aren't mocking a Marvel movie as you're making one, you might be taking it more seriously than the audience does".
While audiences are warmer to Love and Thunder' than critics, the film doesn't seem to be drawing the same level of enthusiasm that greets most Marvel movies.
'Ragnarok' director Taika Waititi returns for 'Love and Thunder', which stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, his on-again, off-again love interest, who also takes on the title of Thor in this one.
In this chapter, the exes must band together in order to defeat Gorr the God Butcher, played by Christian Bale.
'Minions: The Rise of Gru' should fall to second in its sophomore outing. The studio is projecting a $47.2 million haul, marking a 56% fall from its stellar $107 million debut.
The spinoff following the babbling yellow Tic Tac creatures is already the biggest animated release at the box office since 2019's 'Frozen II'. The Illumination production should expand its domestic gross beyond $200 million through the weekend.
Top Gun: Maverick' continues its run of solid holds, with the studio projecting a 44 per cent dip for the Tom Cruise sequel in its seventh weekend. The film should expand its domestic gross to $596 million this weekend, inching closer to becoming the 12th release ever to cross $600 million in North America.
'Elvis' should take fourth place for the weekend. The Warner Bros. biopic. is projected to fall a respectable 38 per cent in its third Friday, adding $3.3 million to its haul.
The Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic will surpass a $90 million domestic gross through Sunday.
[With Inputs From IANS]