Hammer time: ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ reels in $143M in opening weekend

The God of Thunder wielded a mighty hammer at the box office.

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Disney’s “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the fourth standalone Marvel movie that stars Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-toting superhero, was a winner at the box office with a $143 million debut in theaters across North America, Variety reported.

The movie, which opened at 4,375 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, had the third-best opening of the COVID-19 pandemic era behind “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which had a $260 million opening; and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which had a $187.4 million debut, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Love and Thunder” also earned the third-biggest opening weekend of the year behind the “Doctor Strange” film and “Jurassic World: Dominion” ($145 million), Variety reported.

“Love and Thunder” had a better start than the last Thor film. “Thor: Ragnarok” had a $123 million opening in North America in 2017, according to the entertainment news website.

The latest Marvel superhero film also did well worldwide, earning $159 million internationally for a global haul of $302 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Thor: Ragnarok” filmmaker Taika Waititi returned to direct “Love and Thunder,” Variety reported. The latest film follows Hemsworth’s Norse god as he teams up with former love interest Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who now has her own hammer as the Mighty Thor. Together, they work to try and defeat the villainous Gorr the God Butcher, played by Christian Bale, the website reported.

Estimated domestic revenue for this weekend is expected to hit $235 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That is a 98% increase from last year when “Black Widow” opened and up 92% from 2019, months before the pandemic hit.