‘The Marvels’ Underperforms, Signaling MCU’s Weakening Box Office Appeal

by Gabriel Martinez
1 comment
Box Office Underperformance

Since debuting with “Iron Man” in 2008, Marvel has consistently dominated box office charts. However, the latest release, “The Marvels,” has signaled a potential decline in this dominance. The film grossed a mere $47 million in its opening weekend, as per studio figures released on Sunday.

This 33rd Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, a follow-up to 2019’s “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson, opened with significantly less revenue compared to its predecessor’s $153.4 million debut and eventual $1.13 billion global earnings.

In an industry where sequels usually outperform their predecessors, “The Marvels” has been an anomaly, opening with over $100 million less than “Captain Marvel.” David A. Gross of Franchise Research Entertainment described this as a historic downturn in Marvel’s box office performance.

Marvel’s previous lowest opening under the Disney banner was “Ant-Man” with $57.2 million in 2015. Lower openings have been noted in non-Disney Marvel films like Universal’s “The Incredible Hulk” ($55.4 million in 2008), Sony’s “Morbius” ($39 million in 2022), and 20th Century Fox’s “Fantastic Four” reboot ($25.6 million in 2015).

Despite being a high-budget sequel to a billion-dollar film, “The Marvels” stands out in the MCU. Directed by Nia DaCosta, it was the first MCU film helmed by a Black woman and featured a female-led cast with Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani.

However, the film received lukewarm reviews (62% on Rotten Tomatoes) and audience reactions, earning only a “B” CinemaScore, a rare occurrence for MCU films. With an additional $63.3 million from international markets, “The Marvels” could mark a pivotal moment in the MCU’s history, which has amassed $33 billion globally.

There’s growing concern over audience fatigue with superhero content, as noted by Disney CEO Bob Iger and others. As Gross pointed out, the genre’s expansion has plateaued over the past few years.

Yet, the superhero genre isn’t universally declining. Warner Bros.’ “Barbie” has grossed over $1.4 billion worldwide, claiming this year’s top spot. Marvel’s own “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” earned $845.6 million globally, and Sony’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” with $690.5 million is poised for potential Oscar recognition.

The actors’ strike also impacted “The Marvels,” restricting promotional activities until a late agreement on Wednesday. The cast, including Larson, swiftly engaged in social media promotions and surprise theater visits, with Larson appearing on “The Tonight Show” on Friday.

The MCU’s release schedule has been disrupted by these strikes, with “Deadpool 3” (July 26, 2024) being the only upcoming Marvel movie announced.

Other box office results include Universal Pictures’ “Five Nights at Freddy’s” falling to second place with $9 million, and Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” film in third place with $5.9 million. Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla” and Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” also showed strong performances.

Opening weekend box office estimates (U.S. and Canada) from Comscore will be finalized on Monday.

Box Office Rankings:

  1. “The Marvels,” $47 million.
  2. “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” $9 million.
  3. “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” $5.9 million.
  4. “Priscilla,” $4.8 million.
  5. “Killers of the Flower Moon,” $4.7 million.
  6. “The Holdovers,” $3.2 million.
  7. “Journey to Bethlehem,” $2.4 million.
  8. “Tiger 3,” $2.3 million.
  9. “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” $1.8 million.
  10. “Radical,” $1.8 million.

For more details, follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Box Office Underperformance

Why did “The Marvels” underperform at the box office?

“The Marvels” underperformed due to a combination of factors, including lukewarm reviews, lower audience reception, competition from other superhero films, and potential audience fatigue with the superhero genre.

Is this the first time a Marvel sequel has performed worse than its predecessor?

Yes, “The Marvels” is the first Marvel sequel to open with over $100 million less than its predecessor, “Captain Marvel.”

How does “The Marvels” compare to other low-performing Marvel movies?

“The Marvels” had a lower opening than any other Disney-owned Marvel film, except for “Ant-Man.” It even performed worse than some non-Disney Marvel releases.

Is this a sign of declining interest in superhero films?

While “The Marvels” suggests potential fatigue, other superhero films like “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” continue to perform well, indicating that interest in the genre varies.

What impact did the actors’ strike have on the film’s performance?

The actors’ strike delayed promotional activities, potentially affecting the film’s marketing and box office results.

Are there any upcoming Marvel films?

Currently, “Deadpool 3” is the only announced upcoming Marvel film, set to release on July 26, 2024.

What other films performed well at the box office during this period?

“Barbie,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” and “Five Nights at Freddy’s” were among the films that performed strongly at the box office during this period.

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1 comment

CinephileX November 12, 2023 - 10:22 pm

Sequels floppin ain’t normal, right? Marvel’s havin a rough ride.


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