The opening box office for THE MARVELS was nothing short of disastrous for Disney, with a domestic total of $46.1M and $110M worldwide. It was the lowest opening weekend for any Marvel movie and a low point for a franchise in decline.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has already taken action by postponing two of the three Marvel releases that had been scheduled for 2024 releases. While DEADPOOL 3 is still scheduled to open on July 26, 2024, the release of CAPTAIN AMERICA: BRAVE NEW WORLD has been pushed back to February 14, 2025, with THUNDERBOLTS to follow on July 25, 2025.
Even before THE MARVELS, other recent Marvel releases including DR. STRANGE AND THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, ETERNALS, THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, and ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA have all received underwhelming reception from audiences, as have many of the new Marvel series appearing on Disney+.
Iger has commented publicly that he feels that the Marvel franchise “lost focus” during the pandemic when the studio cranked out too many movies and series. Disney will now retrench to prioritize quality over quantity, in an attempt to restore the appeal of the franchise.
It will also address a common criticism that anyone watching a new Marvel film needs to follow the ins and outs of prior work in order to understand the plot. Not only is it important for Disney to solve the puzzle of the shrinking MCU, but it’s also important for exhibitors since the MCU franchise has contributed so much to the box office over the past 15 years.