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Box Office: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ to Rule Over ‘Daddy’s Home 2,’ ‘Orient Express’

Thor: Ragnarok” will maintain North American box office supremacy this weekend amid openings of Fox’s detective story “Murder on the Orient Express” and Paramount’s family comedy “Daddy’s Home 2.”

The third Thor movie should take in at least $50 million at 4,080 locations in its second weekend. The Disney-Marvel tentpole opened with $122.7 million last weekend in the fourth-biggest launch of 2017, then added $8.2 million Monday and $10.8 million on Tuesday.

Both new entries are pegged to launch moderately in the $25 million range, with estimates on each ranging as low as $19 million for “Orient Express” and as high as $32 million for “Daddy’s Home 2.” Combined, “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Daddy’s Home 2” should equal  about what “Thor: Ragnarok” will gross.

“Murder” is opening on 3,350 screens, with reviews that have trended fairly positively with a 63% Rotten Tomatoes score. Kenneth Branagh directed and stars as Hercule Poirot in the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s mystery with a star-laden cast including Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr., and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” star Daisy Ridley.

“Murder on the Orient Express,” set in the 1930s in Central Europe, was adapted by Michael Green and carries a $55 million budget. The 1974 film adaptation starred Albert Finney and received six Oscar nominations.

“Daddy’s Home 2” will be released in approximately 3,570 locations with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell reprising their roles as fathers co-parenting the children of Wahlberg’s character. The story is set during the holiday season with the arrival of Mel Gibson and John Lithgow as the respective fathers. Sean Anders returns to direct from a screenplay he co-wrote with John Morris.

Previews for the film, which has a budget of about $70 million, will launch at 5 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. The first “Daddy’s Home” launched a week after the release of 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and delivered solid results with a $38 million opening weekend domestically on its way to a total of $150 million in North America and $242.7 million worldwide.

The staying power of all three titles will be tested next weekend with Warner Bros. launching its much anticipated “Justice League,” which carried initial forecasts of an opening of at least $110 million.

“Thor: Ragnarok” halted a box office slump that dogged the business for much of October. Year-to-date domestic gross was down 5.1% to $8.95 billion as of Nov. 6, according to comScore.

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