Thor Ragnarok 3 launches with a modest ad budget for big budget production

The next installation of Marvel’s Thor is set to hit theaters in the UK on October 24, with the US release following shortly after on November 3. The film, Thor: Ragnarok, cost a reported $180 million to produce, with opening weekend box office numbers projected to hit $100-$110 million. Kantar Media analyzed how Walt Disney Pictures has been promoting this big budget film on national TV in the weeks leading up to its premiere.

Similar to promoting a new TV show, advertising a new movie release tends to start slowly and pick up momentum as the premiere date approaches. This was the case for Thor: Ragnarok, which first popped up on the TV airwaves on August 21 – more than two months before the release of the film.

Expenditures in that first week were nominal; however, two weeks later spending began in earnest. The week of September 4, approximately eight weeks ahead of the US premiere, the studio then dropped $1 million on national TV advertising – perhaps hoping to build on interest from Labor Day moviegoers who may have seen trailers for Thor: Ragnarok in theaters. From there, spending was minimal until September 25 when it started to build steadily in order to garner interest and anticipation. Ad spend for the film peaked at $3.7 million the week of October 9 three weeks before the US premiere date. Through October 22, the studio has spent an estimated $11.5 million overall on Thor: Ragnarok promotion on national TV.

To date, Walt Disney Pictures has released 27 national commercials to promote Thor: Ragnarok. The majority of the TV budget was split among four ads which totaled $7.6 million in expenditures. All of the advertising shared similar creative themes of fighting evil, teamwork and heroism with elements of drama and comedy sprinkled in.

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