The Marvels is off to a slower start across all markets as the film has pulled in $63.3M internationally and a disappointing $47M domestically. That puts the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe outing at a total opening weekend of $110.3M, which marks the lowest the franchise has ever faced. Sadly, the film hasn’t had any momentum throughout the weekend and ended up on the lower end of Saturday’s estimates, but it hasn’t crashed as hard as some expected going in with the Thursday preview numbers.
Still, it’s a far cry from the $70M predicted a few weeks ago and initially set for around $80M worldwide. So, we didn’t quite make the jump to the $140M. The social scores seem quite decent but the lack of urgency to check out the movie in theaters is hurting it. That B CinemaScore is not helping matters and it seems the film might fizzle out around the same The Flash did earlier in the year; though that had the promotion from its cast marking this a very different situation.
Variety states that audiences “flat-out rejected” the film but don’t back it up on why this is a fact. However, the problem remains with its $220M budget and $100M marketing costs (likely cheaper given they didn’t have to organize a lot for the cast involved). Though Variety also seems to have a bone to pick with the studio ever since they dropped that debunked article. Though as CNBC points out there’s hope that legs could still carry the film closer to breaking even with the Thanksgiving holidays don’t he horizon.
Despite posting the lowest domestic debut for the MCU, ‘The Marvels’ proved once again the importance of the international marketplace for the Marvel brand. The film will now rely on Thanksgiving holiday corridor moviegoing to help move the big budget superhero film closer to profitability and help to determine the film’s ultimate success at the box office.Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst (Comscore)
One thing is clear: there’s a lot of debate online on what exactly happened here. While it got the usual lower CinemaScore, online chatter has been on the uprise since the film was released in theaters. The fact that they had a last-minute debut for Brie Larson on a talk show the day after release isn’t going to randomly sway things even if some are pointing to “promotion taking place anyway.” There’s also the discussion of “being good” not being enough for a film to do well at the box office nowadays as they have become more selective.
Some are pointing to Oppenheimer and Barbie taking place during the strikes and making bank, but those films were released on July 21st and the SAG AFTRA strike started on July 14th. So, they technically had all the momentum already built up going into the release, and isn’t a fair comparison given that the actors were only able to start after it was in cinemas. Just odd to see that comparison as momentum was definitely carried into the film once it was made available.
There’s also the streaming factor that has plagued Marvel releases since Disney trained audiences they can always wait 45 days before checking it out if it’s not a “must-see” event similar to Barbenheimer or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. There has been a slow pushback on it but it’ll take time to allow audiences to adapt to this new normal once again. Something highlighted by Five Nights at Freddy’s continuing to just drop as fast it can at the box office with another 53% drop domestically, but it still managed to pass the $250M mark internationally.
One thing that also stands out is that the box office is in such a state that even with such a disappointing opening for Marvel’s standards it remains at the top spot given how low others are performing. As mentioned in the last analysis, the “bomb” that was Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania also remains the tenth highest-grossing film of the year. It’ll likely be analyzed for many years to come and the big question is what is Marvel’s future once 2024 rolls around.
CNBC’s article shares a curious statement from Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com, that highlights that as much as this snag will hurt Marvel Studios: it may be just the changing point from everything it had to endure moving forward:
If any IP has the depth and capability to do that, it’s Marvel under the leadership of Kevin Feige and his teams. This is certainly a crossroads moment from a creative and business standpoint. Perhaps the relative slowdown in Marvel content next year will provide a healthy and necessary buffer for the studio, for Disney, and for audiences.Shawn Robbins