Weekend Box Office: The Marvels has worst MCU opening ever

Audiences spoke with their wallets this weekend making The Marvels the lowest opening ever for an MCU film

Oh Marvel Cinematic Universe, how times have changed. In just four years you’ve seen your movies open to over $357 million (Avengers: Endgame) to this weekend where The Marvels became your lowest opening ever with just $47 million, about $8 million shy of where we predicted it on Thursday. So what went wrong? First, you seem to have over-saturated your brand. Going to the movies to see these big tent pole films was always an enjoyable experience, but when you branched out into the Disney+ shows that people had to keep up with, it watered down those theatrical experiences. Would I truly enjoy The Marvels if I never saw an episode of Ms. Marvel? That seems to be the big problem as Ms. Marvel is currently the lowest watched Marvel show on Disney+ with just 780,000 viewers compared to something like She-Hulk which drew 1.5 million viewers or Loki which has pulled 2.5 million viewers (its most watched show). So perhaps making a big screen version of that show wasn’t the smartest move, despite it being packaged as a Captain Marvel sequel. It would be like if studio executives said “hey, remember that show Cop Rock, let’s make a movie out of that but throw Dennis Franz in it and call it NYPD Blue!

Reviews for The Marvels aren’t a straight up dumpster fire, with a current 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, when the biggest consensus the critics all make is that the film is short, it isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement! The biggest thing the MCU had going for it was its connectivity. Before Iron Man can you remember a time when people collectively stayed through the entire end credits to get that little 30 second extra clip that would tease the next film? The MCU changed the way we watch movies. And despite The Marvels featuring such a tease, it seems that audiences have grown a bit tired of the run of the mill stories they have gotten the past few years. Villains that don’t stand out, comedy that barely garners a half hearted smirk, they just aren’t must see entertainment any more.

The Marvels, sequel, superhero fatigue, runtime

It is a shame because despite what many filmmakers may say, the MCU has been a very enjoyable experience. Even these last few films, despite not hitting those same highs as the films leading up to Avengers: Endgame, have at least been throwaway fun, but many audiences are demanding a bit more than just “throwaway fun” when spending their hard earned money. With a budget that falls well over the $200 million mark (some accounts have it as high as $275 million), this lackluster opening is simply horrible. I get that some may say that a few weeks ago Killers of the Flower Moon had a similar opening and a higher production cost, but that movie’s theatrical release was merely an advertisement for its eventual Apple+ release and the studios knew that.

The good news for the MCU is they have some genuinely exciting titles on the horizon with X-Men, Fantastic Four, Blade, Deadpool 3 and (as of now) two new Avengers movies, that if rumors are to be believed may reunite the original Avengers in an attempt to get audiences back. So despite this current creative lull, it does appear sunnier days are ahead.

Coming in second place is the third week of Five Nights at Freddy’s with a drop of 53% and a $9 million weekend as the $20 million budgeted film, that has also been available to stream on Peacock since its release, sits at a very solid $127.2 million domestic total. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour also continues its stellar run with another $5.9 million added to its $172.5 million domestic total while the aforementioned Killers of the Flower Moon continues its small week to week drops with another $4.6 million added to its $59.9 million domestic total. 

Coming in fourth place, posting a very impressive drop of just 5% is the Sofia Coppola directed Priscilla with a 3-day total of $4.7 million. Spot six goes to one of the best movies I have seen this year as The Holdovers saw a very healthy 463% increase with a 3-day take of $3.2 million. As I said in yesterday’s update, when this movie ended I couldn’t help but stay seated and think about how tremendous a film I had just seen. Paul Giamatti gives one of his finest performances yet while Dominic Sessa makes a star worthy introduction. The dynamic between the two reminded me of Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges in Manchester By The Sea, a film which would win Affleck the Oscar for Best Actor. Of course the biggest stand out of the film for me was Da’Vine Joy Randolph who has been a performer I have loved seeing in films from Office Christmas Party to Dolemite is My Name. In this film she brings it to another level, offering equal parts hilarity and heartbreak. I genuinely hope we see this movie play a big part in the coming Awards season with Da’Vine Joy Randolph being my current pick to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Our Editor in Chief Chris Bumbray and I are in full agreement on this movie as he gave it a rare 10/10 in his review out of the Toronto International Film Festival

Coming in seventh place is the Christmas faith based film Journey To Bethlehem with an estimated $2.4 million. Not exactly the highest numbers we have seen for a faith based film, but with a budget around $6 million before marketing, this one has the potential to hit profitability if it can sustain through the holidays. This weekend also saw the power of Indian language films at the domestic box office with Tiger 3 opening on Saturday and pulling in a solid $2.2 million. The remainder of the top ten are your holdover titles such as Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie with an additional $1.7 million added to its $64.5 million domestic total while the Eugenio Derbez spanish language film Radical continues its impressive North American run with another $1.7 million added to its $5.2 million domestic total. Outside the top ten sees the release of the A24 Nicolas Cage starring Dream Scenario in just six theaters where it saw a $215,500 3-day total, which breaks down to an impressive $35,900 per screen average.

What do you make of the absolute misfire that is The Marvels? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to check out our weekly poll where we ask: What MCU Character’s super powers would you ant the most?

1 The Marvels $47.0 M $47.0 M
2 Five Nights at Freddy's $9.0 M $127.2 M
3 Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour $5.9 M $172.5 M
4 Priscilla $4.7 M $12.7 M
5 Killers of the Flower Moon $4.6 M $59.9 M
6 The Holdovers $3.2 M $4.2 M
7 Journey To Bethlehem $2.4 M $2.4 M
8 Tiger 3 $2.2 M $2.2 M
9 Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie $1.76 M $64.5 M
10 Radical $1.75 M $5.2 M
Source: Comscore

About the Author

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Brad grew up loving movies and wanting to work in the industry. Graduated from Full Sail University in 2007 before moving to Los Angeles where I was fortunate enough to join SAG-Aftra in 2012. I love every second I get to write about movies for Joblo!