The Marvel Cinematic Universe has long been the most reliable blockbuster producer in Hollywood. Iron Man, Black Widow and Co. have dominated the action on the screen for over a decade Billions grossed. However, the latest film from the mega-franchise failed to take off. Despite big names like Brie Larson and entertaining sequences with musical numbers and monster tentacle cats, The Marvels got off to the worst start in MCU history.
How could that happen?
The Marvels performed worse at the box office than 2008’s The Incredible Hulk
As the Hollywood Reporter reports, The Marvels only grossed $47 million when it opened in the US. That’s the weakest start since The Incredible Hulk, which entered the box office race in 2008 with $55 million. For comparison, the first Captain Marvel film secured $153 million in the US in its first weekend. That’s more than the $110 million that The Marvels boasted worldwide after its launch.
With an MCU film comes greater expectations. After all, The Marvels devoured a budget of 220 to 250 million US dollars, as Forbes and Variety report. Without tax relief we are even talking about 270 million US dollars. The marketing budget is not included. In order for a blockbuster to be profitable, it has to Two to three times its production costs play in, that’s the rule of thumb.
You can watch the trailer for The Marvels here:
The Marvels – Trailer (German) HD
The box office defeat of The Marvels cannot be reduced to one reason. As with many other films different factors for success or failure responsible for a project. We looked at The Marvels’ numbers and the status quo of the current cinema landscape to find out why the new MCU blockbuster underperformed.
Reason 1: The actors’ strike in Hollywood
The biggest Hollywood topic of the year is the double strike of the past few months. The screenwriters from the WGA union went on strike from May to September. From July to November, members of the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA stopped their work. For many productions this meant that the stars could do their projects do not apply for the cinema release. The Marvels is one of the last films to be affected by this.
When a new MCU film hits theaters, it’s a given that stars will be appearing in TV shows, gracing magazine covers and giving countless interviews. In Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Samuel L. Jackson, The Marvels lost three popular voices, not to mention newcomer Iman Vellani, who could have easily scored several viral hits with her Marvel enthusiasm and comic book knowledge.
Reason 2: Superhero fatigue continues to spread
To speak of the end of superhero cinema would be premature. What is noticeable, however, is that not every comic book adaptation is a success anymore. Black Adam, Morbius, Blue Beetle, Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania fell short of expectations – too interchangeable, too half-baked. The most successful genre representatives were last carefully constructed event filmswhich score points with popular characters and nostalgia (Spider-Man: No Way Home) or the promise of a new approach that hasn’t been seen before (The Batman).
Spider-Man: No Way Home
The Marvels didn’t make it to the blockbuster event. Despite highlights like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, this is Trust in the Marvel brand is broken. The Secret Invasion series only has a 53 percent approval rating from critics and 48 percent from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes – far below the average for popular MCU projects such as the Avengers films, which are in the 80 to 90 percent range.
Reason 3: The Marvels requires too much prior MCU knowledge
What was once the MCU’s strength may now have become its downfall: all stories are (more or less) interconnected. After over 30 films and numerous series, it is difficult to keep track – and to absorb the knowledge from all the new publications. The Marvels in particular relies on the fact that the MCU has been extensively studied in recent years.
The film is not just a sequel to Captain Marvel. It also follows the events of the MCU series WandaVision and Ms. Marvel. What a lot of fans exciting crossover event doesn’t seem to be gaining traction with the general public. For audiences who only occasionally delve into the MCU, The Marvels brings with them a mountain of homework that militates against the idea of a non-committal movie visit.
Reason 4: The hype wasn’t on The Marvels’ side
The first Captain Marvel came in the Height of the MCU to the cinema, in the slipstream of Avengers 3: Infinity War and in anticipation of Avengers 4: Endgame. Added to this was the curiosity about Brie Larson’s MCU debut and the first MCU blockbuster with a female title role. The hype couldn’t have been bigger. Captain Marvel was part of a can’t-miss pop culture event in 2019.
We objected to the sequel negative headlines piled up, from start date delays to behind-the-scenes issues, which were recently broken down by Variety. The mixed reviews haven’t helped public perception of the film either. 62 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 50 on Metacritic do not indicate the must-see film of the year.
Has The Marvels finally flopped?
The $47 million that The Marvels grossed in its first weekend is not a good sign. Blockbusters are typically “front-loaded,” meaning they generate a majority of their revenue in the first weekend. We saw this this year with The Flash, among others, which started slightly better with 55 million US dollars and then fell sharply, as can be seen from the figures from Box Office Mojo. In the USA, The Flash couldn’t even double the box office takings of its opening after nine weeks. It grossed $270 million worldwide – a flop.
At the same time, Disney has proven this year that a lot is possible despite a weak start: The $200 million Pixar film Elemental initially only grossed $30 million in the USA. However, a look at Box Office Mojo shows that Elemental was able to remain stable in theaters for several weeks. Word got out that the film worth a trip to the cinema. In the USA, Elemental reached $154 million at the end of its evaluation. Worldwide it even reached $500 million.
Now we can be curious to see which route The Marvels takes.
The Marvels has been running in German cinemas since November 15, 2023.
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