Thor: Ragnarok hit US theaters this weekend and it definitely looks like the money Marvel Studios spent on the movie was worth every cent. Taika Waititi’s Marvel debut was made for the hefty price tag of $180 million – although it’s not the most expensive movie made in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
That title goes to Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was produced for a reported $330,600,000. Thor: Ragnarok is actually only the seventh most expensive MCU movie, but still cost $30 million more to make than both Thor and Thor: The Dark World. No doubt the addition of Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo and Cate Blanchett bumped up the price tag, although just as important will be the fact that the vast majority of it was set outside of Earth, meaning a lot of CGI was needed to recreate the alien worlds of Asgard and Sakaar.
Motion capture played a big part in the film too. The Hulk spends more time on screen than Bruce Banner, and we have additional supporting mo-cap performances from Waititi as Korg, one of the gladiators on Sakaar, and Surtur the fire demon – with Clancy Brown provided the voice for that character. Cate Blanchett also had to wear a special cap in order to digitally recreate Hela’s battle crown.
A brand new form of cinematic technology was used in the MCU to create the flashback fight sequence between the Valkyries and Hela. Called DynamicLight, it uses a rig of hundreds of lights that goes off one per frame. That created that beautiful slow-motion effect as the Valkyries descended on Hela on their winged steeds while the Goddess of Death launched swords at them. DynamicLight was co-developed by Waititi’s pal Stuart Rutherford and shows that the director was bringing far more to the table than just his distinctive witty voice and directorial style.
Altogether, the Kiwi director’s efforts have worked. Thor: Ragnarok is one of the best-received MCU movies ever with a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s also broken box office records both internationally and domestically, with an overall total of $427 million. It’s certainly a testament to Waititi’s filmmaking acumen that he was able to turn his low-budget movie-making skills to such a massive cinematic endeavor and still keep his stamp on it. And, with the director already talking about making a sequel to Thor: Ragnarok, we cannot wait to see what he brings to the MCU next.
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