Currently, projections are down for The Marvels given that the presales didn’t pick up much speed over the course of the last few weeks. It remains a surprise that Marvel Studios didn’t risk pushing the project back further given the current climate and uncertainty surrounding the SAG-AFTRA strike ending anytime soon and how important the main cast is to the film. Yet, it could also be that pushing it back again would’ve made the project even more expensive moving forward.
Initial local projections went from $60M down to $50M, though some even had it at a potential $70M – $80M. BoxOfficePro has also lowered expectations at a potential $45M to $65M opening weekend with a domestic total of $109M. That would put it on track where The Flash ended up and could mean that the film will definitely not make up its $250M production budget at the box office alone.
Is it superhero fatigue? At this point, it doesn’t really matter what it is as the box office in general is struggling. Five Nights at Freddy’s second weekend plummeted in the worst weekend we’ve seen in a long time after a big frontloading by fans. It had a strong forecast going by early presales which is why The Marvels is currently faltering as it seemed to not pick up any pace in the earlier weeks, but also hasn’t had a lot of output by Marvel Studios or Disney outside of a big final trailer push yesterday.
The strikes are definitely hurting this film as its main selling point was the trio cast at the forefront, which was a no-show during any of the film promotions. That means no showcase during talk shows, interviews, or anything else one would hope to promote their film with. Even the long-awaited prequel to The Hunger Games is looking at a soft $38M to $50M opening currently. Who knows if this fall is going to be just a depressing reflection of the summer box office?
Globally, the predictions stand at a $140M opening worldwide, which is on par with what The Flash had in the summer (taking into context an off-season release it hurts just a smidge less than one of the expected biggest blockbuster releases). The big questions in the room are the initial reactions to the film, which are expected to drop some time tonight, and the reviews. As mentioned previously: people are a bit more frugal with their money and after going all-in with Barbenheimer, viewers may be a bit more cautious going into the rest of the year as inflation and the cost of living crisis is a big factor in decision-making nowadays. Plus, if it releases on Disney+ in the coming months it hurts far less than spending upwards of $40 bucks to go to the movies.
It’s not an excuse and it will stand to reason that The Marvels could potentially end up as the worst box office opening for any MCU release so far. Even lower than Eternals which had to fight off COVID during its initial release, but also benefitted from far fewer releases in theaters. It all depends on those previews as if they open to around $6M on Thursday, the film could face a $40M opening weekend. It all depends on word-of-mouth and reviews ahead of time; something Marvel Studios hasn’t been dependent on in a long time.
A big point is that men in the age range of 18 to 34 are the key factor for most Marvel releases, but, oddly, expectations are purely on this demographic given the film’s very strong female leads. If the film hits the right cords with its core audience, women between 17 and 34 could make up for that fact as they are closer to what the film is aiming for going by its leads and core demographic. That may also be one of the reasons its unusual presales core audience isn’t really invested given the current (depressing) political climate. Perhaps showing a special trailer ahead of Taylor Swift’s films may turn out as a surprise push for the release. For now, we have to wait and see just a few more days until the numbers give us a clearer picture.