"The Marvels," the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), had a lackluster opening weekend at the box office. The film, starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, earned an estimated $47 million domestically, the lowest opening in the franchise's history. Initial predictions had anticipated a higher opening of $75-80 million, but those figures were revised to $60-65 million before the film's release.
Internationally, "The Marvels" fared slightly better, garnering $63.3 million in ticket sales, bringing its global total to $110.3 million. Despite its low domestic debut, industry analysts emphasize the importance of the international market for the Marvel brand. The film will now rely on the Thanksgiving holiday season to boost its box office performance and move closer to profitability.
Critics' reviews of "The Marvels" were lukewarm, with a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, audiences responded more positively, giving it an 85% score. Disney faced challenges in drawing moviegoers to theaters for its 33rd MCU film, especially after the conclusion of major storylines in "Avengers: Endgame" in 2019. The studio has also faced difficulties in marketing its new projects to audiences, as it seeks to balance nostalgia with pushing the storytelling forward.
Some fans have expressed frustration with the inundation of Marvel content on Disney+, feeling obligated to watch multiple series to understand the films. This may have contributed to the lower opening day figures for "The Marvels," which earned $21.5 million on Friday, including preview screenings. Only the 2008 film "The Incredible Hulk" had a lower opening day for a MCU film.
Despite the disappointment of "The Marvels" opening weekend, industry experts emphasize that this does not indicate a decline in audience interest in the MCU. The franchise has generated nearly $30 billion since 2008. However, it may prompt studio leadership to reconsider its release plans and focus on quality over quantity. Disney CEO Bob Iger has already expressed a desire to scale back the studio's Marvel slate.
In addition to box office challenges, Marvel Studios is also facing difficulties with actor Jonathan Majors, who plays the next major villain in the MCU. Majors is currently involved in legal troubles related to allegations of assault and abuse. This situation adds another layer of complexity for the studio to navigate.
Overall, "The Marvels" opening weekend may be seen as a disappointment compared to previous MCU films, but it is not a failure by any means. It may serve as a catalyst for the studio to reassess its future release plans and find a balance between quantity and quality.