“Thor” helped to kick off the summer season on May 6, 2011. It did so with a pretty solid bang, taking in $65.7 million on its opening weekend — good enough for the number one spot, besting Universal’s “Fast Five,” which was entering its second weekend. The film held reasonably well in the coming weeks, setting it up for a nice domestic run that concluded in late August. All told, the fourth MCU flick earned $181 million domestic and $268.2 million internationally for a grand total of $449.3 million against a reported $150 million production budget.
Now, by current MCU standards that number doesn’t look all that great. But the fact that a straight-up fantasy film led by a then largely unknown actor managed to make three times its production budget while other huge hits like “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Bridesmaids,” and “The Hangover Part II” were in theaters is impressive, considering that the God of Thunder had nothing else for the general public to latch onto at that time. This movie was able to sell itself, especially when coupled with the promise of something bigger to come the following summer. It is also worth pointing out that “Thor” earned a reported $95 million from Blu-ray and DVD sales, illustrating that the market for ancillary revenue was much better even a decade ago.
This success, in turn, helped set up “The Avengers” for a record-breaking run in 2012, as well as “Thor” to become a big hit solo franchise in its own right, with the series recently crossing the $2 billion mark worldwide thanks to the early returns from “Love and Thunder.” Not only that, but Hemsworth’s hammer-swinging god became the first MCU hero to have four solo movies under his belt. All of that springs forth from a comparatively humble fantasy/superhero flick that proved the MCU could safely explore different genres on its way to becoming an all-encompassing multimedia behemoth.