Disney/Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok begins hammering international turnstiles today with the UK release, a non-traditional Tuesday fueled by school vacations. By Friday the Crown Prince of Asgard will be in 35 material markets for about half of the offshore footprint. Along with the UK, Thor rocks into such majors as France, Italy, Spain, Korea, Australia and Brazil this week. Next week, the film hits the rest of the world including not only North America, but China and Japan.
The overseas opening on the third pic in the god of thunder’s franchise is eyed at a range of $85M-$100M, per industry sources. Some see anticipation so high that reaching above $100M is possible, but as ever tracking is not as comprehensive internationally and so a clearer picture begins to emerge once the first markets come online.
Comps on Thor 3 include Thor: The Dark World, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and Doctor Strange. Disney is also using Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It’s not going by Captain America: Civil War which played more like an Avengers film given all those other superheroes in the mix, but sans Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) who were last seen in Avengers: Age Of Ultron in 2015.
Clearly, they figure here. The rest of the cast features the returning Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins, as well as newcomers Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum and Tessa Thompson.
The story sees Asgard threatened, but Thor imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his hammer. To escape and save his home world, he must fight his former ally and fellow Avenger — the Incredible Hulk.
Thor: Ragnarok, directed by Taika Waititi, is a refresh on the series that has a much lighter tone than the previous The Dark World which finaled at about $645M global ($438.2M international), and so it’s seen leaning closer to a Guardians movie.
In a similar corridor in 2013, The Dark World opened to $79.9M in the same suite of markets and at today’s exchange rates. GOTG2 bowed in late April this year to $102.8M in like-for-like plays and at current numbers.
As for Doctor Strange, it opened to $88.1M last year at this time, again using the similar launch markets and today’s exchange.
The Top 5 overall markets on the last Thor were China, Russia, the UK, Brazil and Mexico (its offshore results improved 63% on the 2011 original). Doctor Strange was tops in China, Korea, the UK, Brazil and Russia. GOTG2 made the most of its mix tape in China, the UK, Germany, Russia and France. Humor in the Marvel films tends to skew better in Europe while Asia leans to action.
The playful trailers and clips shown at various industry gatherings over the past several months have landed. The first teaser trailer drew 136M views worldwide in its first 24 hours last April.
Reviews are at a marvelous 98% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Overseas, The Guardian gives the “romp’ three stars; The Telegraph goes for four on the “exhilaratingly fresh nostalgia trip” that “brings the thunder”; and Radio Times calls it “a fabulous fantasy and the funniest Marvel movie yet.” You have to think folks are looking for some salve here as well after a limp August and a disappointing run for would-be blockbuster Blade Runner 2049.
As for overseas promotions, director and cast traveled to Australia to kick off a global publicity tour at the Gold Coast premiere in Queensland. There was press from 12 countries there and talent did a virtual chat with Chinese media and influencers. Most recently, talent traveled to London for press, with Waititi going on to Dublin and Toronto.
Walt Disney Studios also did its first global YouTube pop-up in Sydney, featuring a video on a Sakaar-inspired set with influencers from around the world and 20 Australia influencers who created individual videos for their channels.
In Japan, a marketing event surrounded a “battle royale” match between two boxing champions featuring a Thor-inspired poster and special video message from one of the boxers.
Social media interplay included Argentinean tennis player Juan Martin del Potro (“Del Thor-tro”) with a video from Hemsworth wishing Del Potro luck on his match vs Rafael Nadal and asking for his hammer back. (Del Potro is notorious for his thunderous forehand.)
France, Italy and Korea are among notable openings tomorrow; followed by Australia, Brazil and more on Thursday; and Spain, the Nordics and South Africa on Friday.
Thor 3 is staying out of Germany this weekend where local threequel Fack Ju Gohte 3 is opening. In Mexico, Disney/Pixar is expecting auds to go loco for their Coco and in Russia, the Mouse is looking to hit the November 4 Unity Day holiday.
So, Germany opens on Halloween, followed by Russia and Mexico on November 2 and China, India and Japan on November 3.
Kevin Feige produces Thor: Ragnarok with exec producers Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, Thomas M. Hammel and Stan Lee. Thor: Ragnarok is written by Eric Pearson and Craig Kyle & Christopher L. Yost.