The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film “The Marvels” fell flat at the box office this weekend, grossing just $47 million domestically. That paltry figure marks the worst opening ever for the hugely popular MCU.
It’s also a massive drop from the $153 million debut of the movie’s 2019 predecessor “Captain Marvel.” “The Marvels” managed less than a third of that film’s opening weekend business.
Forecasters predicted a $75 million start, but poor reviews, confusion over required knowledge of Marvel TV shows, and muted promotion due to an actors strike conspired to suppress audience interest.
The Incredible Hulk previously held the record for the lowest MCU opening with $55.4 million back in 2008. Another Marvel film, Ant-Man, also came in lower at $57.2 million in 2015. But recent franchise entries like February’s Ant-Man sequel and May’s Guardians of the Galaxy 3 opened considerably higher, at over $100 million apiece.
With a price tag upwards of $300 million counting production and marketing costs, The Marvels faces a steep financial climb out of the red. One box office analyst called the debut “an unprecedented Marvel box office collapse.”
Up next for the MCU is the R-rated Deadpool 3, due in July 2024 and likely to fare better as an edgier change of pace. But The Marvels’ lackluster reception raises serious doubts about audience appetite for future Marvel films after over a decade of dominance.