Brie Larson stars at Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel in Marvel Studios’ “The Marvels.”
“The Marvels” didn’t go higher, further or faster during its opening weekend in theaters.
The newest entrant within the Marvel Cinematic Universe hauled in an estimated $47 million domestically over its debut weekend, the bottom within the 30-plus-film franchise’s history.
Initial predictions saw the film opening at between $75 million and $80 million domestically, but those figures shrunk to a spread between $60 million and $65 million ahead of Friday’s opening.
Internationally, “The Marvels” garnered $63.3 million in ticket sales, bringing its global haul to $110.3 million.
Lowest-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe openings
- “The Marvels” (2023) — $47 million
- “The Incredible Hulk” (2008) — $55.4 million
- “Ant-Man” (2015) — $57.2 million
- “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011) — $65.1 million
- “Thor” (2011) — $65.7 million
- “The Eternals” (2021) — $71.3 million
“Despite posting the bottom domestic debut for the MCU, ‘The Marvels’ proved once more the importance of the international marketplace for the Marvel brand,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “The film will now depend on Thanksgiving holiday corridor moviegoing to assist move the massive budget superhero film closer to profitability and help to find out the film’s ultimate success on the box office. “
While critics were lukewarm on “The Marvels,” giving the flick a 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences were more receptive with an 85% rating. Still, Disney had an uphill battle drawing moviegoers to theaters for its thirty third MCU film, which the corporate likely understood. CEO Bob Iger has already said this 12 months that the studio would cut back its Marvel slate.
After the ‘Endgame’
After 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame,” which wrapped up storylines and arcs for popular characters like Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Marvel Studios’ theatrical and streaming content has been hit-or-miss with audiences. It has also had a difficult time marketing its latest projects to audiences, because it seeks to hit nostalgic notes but in addition push its storytelling forward.
“Marvel has simply set a really high standard for themselves,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “When a latest film or series is released, they’ve more pressure to face on their very own while also pushing the universe forward.”
Not to say, the studio inundated Disney+ with series in an effort to pad its platform, making some fans feel like that they had to slog through hours of stories with a purpose to understand what was happening within the movies.
“Expanding the MCU brand past the goldilocks zone of balanced exposure without feeling like homework to the casual audience has created a challenge for the franchise to start correcting for,” Robbins said.
That is probably why “The Marvels” landed the second-lowest opening day for a MCU film, securing just $21.5 million on Friday. This figure includes $6.6 million from Thursday night previews. The one film to snare fewer ticket sales on its first day in domestic theaters was 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” which was the second-ever MCU film after “Iron Man” became a surprise smash earlier that 12 months.
Robbins was quick to underscore that this box office stumble does not imply that audiences are ready to offer up on the MCU. In spite of everything, the franchise has generated nearly $30 billion since 2008.
“In reality, this underwhelming box office performance occurs at the identical time ‘Loki’s’ second season is, paradoxically, drawing praise as one among the few Disney+ Marvel series to resonate positively with a giant a part of the fan base,” he said.
To make sure, a $47 million opening, will not be bad for any film, but as compared to the high highs that Marvel has achieved within the last decade, it’s viewed as a disappointment. It could also act as a catalyst for leadership on the studio to rethink its future release plans.
Already, Iger has said he’s the corporate’s overall theatrical and streaming technique to pare down how much content it makes.
“On the time the pandemic hit, we were leaning right into a huge increase in how much we were making,” Iger said during Disney’s earnings call last week. “And I’ve all the time felt that quantity will be actually a negative in the case of quality, and I feel that is exactly what happened. We lost some focus.”
Moreover, Marvel Studios is facing an uphill battle with actor Jonathan Majors, whom it selected to tackle the role of Kang, the following big bad within the MCU. Majors is embroiled in legal troubles stemming from allegations of assault and abuse.
“If any IP has the depth and capability to do this, it’s Marvel under the leadership of Kevin Feige and his teams,” said Robbins. “That is definitely a crossroads moment from a creative and business standpoint. Perhaps the relative slowdown in Marvel content next 12 months will provide a healthy and crucial buffer for the studio, for Disney, and for audiences.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes.