Since 2008’s “Iron Man,” the Marvel machine has been one of the most unstoppable forces in box office history. But today, this aura of invincibility is showing signs of wear and tear. The superhero factory hit a new low with the weekend launch of “The Marvels,” which opened with just $47 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The 33rd installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a sequel to 2019’s Brie Larson-led “Captain Marvel,” managed less than a third of its predecessor’s $153.4 million debut before ultimately raking in $1.13 billion dollars in the world.
Sequels, especially in Marvel Land, aren’t meant to fall off a cliff. Yet “The Marvels” debuted with more than $100 million less than “Captain Marvel” — something no sequel has ever done before. David A. Gross, who runs the film consulting firm Franchise Research Entertainment, called it “an unprecedented collapse of the Marvel box office.”
Previous lowest for a Walt Disney The co-owned Marvel movie was “Ant-Man,” which bowed with $57.2 million in 2015. Otherwise, you have to step outside of Disney’s MCU to find such a slow start for a Marvel movie – releases like Universal’s “The Incredible Hulk.” with $55.4 million in 2008, Sony’s “Morbius” with $39 million in 2022 or 20th Century Fox’s “Fantastic Four” reboot with $25.6 million in 2015.
But “The Wonders” was a $200 million-plus sequel to a billion-dollar blockbuster. It was also an exceptional Marvel release in many ways. The film, directed by Nia DaCosta, was the first MCU release directed by a black woman. It was also the rare Marvel film led by three women – Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani.
The reviews weren’t strong (62% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and neither is the public reaction. “The Marvels” is only the third MCU release to receive a “B” CinemaScore from moviegoers, following “Eternals” And “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania.”
“The Marvels,” which generated $63.3 million in overseas ticket sales, could be a turning point in the MCU. Over the years, the franchise has collected $33 billion worldwide – a point Disney highlighted in releasing its revenue on Sunday.
But as cinema screens and streaming platforms become increasingly crowded with superhero films and series, some analysts have detected a new audience fatigue. Disney CEO Bob Iger himself spoke of possible oversaturation for Marvel.
“Over the past three and a half years, the growth of the genre has stalled,” Gross wrote in a newsletter Sunday.
Either way, something is changing for superheroes. This year, the box office crown seems assured for “Barbie”. biggest hit of the year with over $1.4 billion worldwide for Warner Bros.
Marvel has still produced recent hits. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3″ launched this summer with $118 million before ultimately raking in $845.6 million worldwide. Sony “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” earned $690.5 million worldwide and, after rave reviews, is expected to be an Oscar contender.
The actors’ strike also did “Marveilles” no favors. The film’s actors were not allowed to promote the film before the strike was called off late Wednesday night when SAG-AFTRA and the studios reached an agreement. Larson and company quickly took to social media and made surprise appearances in theaters. And Larson was a guest on “The Tonight Show” Friday.
The normally orderly pattern of MCU releases has also been disrupted by the strikes. After numerous strike-related delays, the only Marvel film currently on the studio’s 2024 schedule is “Deadpool 3,” which releases July 26.
Separately, after two weeks at the top of the box office, Universal Pictures’ “Five Nights at Freddy’s” slipped to second place with $9 million in its third weekend of release. The Blumhouse-produced video game adaptation has accumulated $127.2 million domestically.
Concert film “The Eras Tour” by Taylor Swift came in third with $5.9 million from 2,484 theaters in its fifth weekend of release. The film, produced by Swift and distributed by AMC Theaters, grossed $172.5 million domestically and $240.9 million worldwide.
“Priscilla” by Sofia Coppola held strong in its second weekend of wide release. The A24 film, starring Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley and Jacob Elordi as Elvis, remained in fourth place with $4.8 million, down just 5% from the previous week.
Killers of the Flower Moon by Martin Scorsese A Apple The studio production, distributed theatrically by Paramount Pictures, grossed $4.7 million in its fourth weekend, to bring its domestic gross to about $60 million. Although fairly low for a $200 million film, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is primarily an awards-season statement from Apple about its growing cinematic ambitions.
In its first weekend of extended release, The famous “The Holdovers” by Alexander Payne starring Paul Giamatti as a sullen boarding school instructor, launched with $3.2 million from 778 locations. The Focus Features release, an anticipated Oscar contender, hopes to have strong legs through the fall.
“Journey to Bethlehem,” a film by Affirm Films, Sony’s Christian subsidiary, debuted with $2.4 million in about 2,000 locations.
Estimated ticket sales Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final national figures will be released on Monday.
1. “Les Merveilles”, $47 million.
2. “Five Nights at Freddys,” $9 million.
3. “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” $5.9 million.
4. “Priscilla,” $4.8 million.
5. “The Flower Moon Killers,” $4.7 million.
6. “The Remains,” $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.