Once the reigning champion of superhero cinema, Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has fallen on hard times. This year has marked one of the studio's worst periods, and the dismal opening day performance of "The Marvels" has cemented the impression that the "house of superheroes" is at a crossroads.
Directed by Nia DaCosta and serving as a sequel to both 2019's "Captain Marvel" and the Disney+ miniseries "Ms. Marvel," "The Marvels" mustered a mere $47 million at the U.S. box office during its opening weekend, the worst start in MCU history.
The film's global performance fared no better, amassing a paltry $63.3 million worldwide against a budget exceeding $200 million. Previously, the infamous record for the weakest opening weekend belonged to 2008's "The Incredible Hulk," which earned $55.4 million domestically, followed by "Ant-Man" with $57.2 million.
David E. Grouse, head of consultancy firm Franchise Research Entertainment, dubbed the failure "an unprecedented box office collapse for Marvel."
Disney has announced that it will reduce the number of films it releases
The thirty-third film from the production company, starring Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, divided critics.
While some praised the sequel, it garnered a mere 62% approval rating on the aggregator "Rotten Tomatoes," and audience reception was equally lukewarm. It is only the third film from the "Marvel" stable to receive a "B" rating from cinemagoers, following "Eternals" and "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." Since 2019's "Spider-Man: No Way Home," interest in new titles from the fictional worlds of superhumans has waned, with the exceptions of "No Way Home" and the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.
3." TV series haven't fared much better either, with "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" and "Secret Invasion" garnering the lowest ratings to date. Disney CEO Bob Iger himself acknowledged the potential market oversaturation and announced plans to reduce the number of released Marvel films.