‘The Marvels’ Disappoints in Box Office Debut

(L-R): Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, and Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios' THE MARVELS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

The Marvels opened this weekend with an estimated $47 million domestic haul.

While that was enough to top the box office, it marked the lowest debut ever for a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Disney-Marvel movie played in 4,030 theaters across the U.S. and Canada, for a per location average of $11,663, according to box office tracking company Comscore.

Outside North America, the film earned $63.3 million for a worldwide total of $110.3 million.

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The movie stars Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers; Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau; and Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel.

Marvel Boss Kevin Feige produced The Marvels, which was directed by Nia DaCosta (Candyman). Brooklyn native DaCosta marked a milestone as the first Black woman to helm an MCU film.

Comscore Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian noted that the movie is the latest superhero saga to face “headwinds.”

“It would appear that one of the most consistently appealing and financially rewarding genres has been facing headwinds of late and the performance of The Marvels this weekend is indicative of a bit of a malaise within this once unstoppable category,” Dergarabedian told Urban Hollywood 411 on Sunday.

Director Nia DaCosta on the set of Marvel Studios' THE MARVELS. Photo by Laura Radford. © 2023 MARVEL
Director Nia DaCosta on the set of The Marvels. (Credit: Laura Radford/Marvel Studios)

The film follows Captain Marvel as she reclaims her identity from the tyrannical Kree and takes revenge on the Supreme Intelligence. Together with Ms. Marvel and Captain Rambeau, the unlikely trio tries to save the universe as “The Marvels.”

Early industry tracking had the movie opening in the $75 million to $80 million range.

Reviews were mixed, with critics giving the film a 63-percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. Meanwhile, audiences gave it a “B” CinemaScore.

With middling reviews and the cast unable to promote the movie during the SAG-AFTRA strike — which ended at midnight on Nov. 9 — ticket sales slumped.

Dergarabedian described comic book fans as very “discerning,” and said it might be time for studios and Hollywood creatives to reconsider their approach to bringing these stories to the screen.

“Moving forward all superhero brands must assess how best to draw back this key audience segment and get back to a level of box office consistency that this segment once enjoyed,” he stated.

With a reported $200 million production budget, plus marketing costs, there will likely be serious discussions at Disney about what went wrong.

In comparison to The Marvels‘ $47 million opening, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever debuted a year ago with a $181 million domestic haul — and earned $859 million during its global theatrical run.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that The Marvels only made a third of the $153 million opening of its predecessor, Captain Marvel. The outlet described the new film’s debut as a “new low” and a “meltdown.”

Elsewhere at the box office this weekend, Universal and Blumhouse Pictures’ Five Nights At Freddy’s took second place after scaring up another $9.0 million in its third weekend. Through Sunday, the film has a domestic total of $127.2 million.

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour was third with $5.9 million domestically Friday to Sunday. The concert movie has a earned $172.5 million in North America since its release.

Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla adapted from Priscilla Presley’s memoir was fourth with $4.7 million. To date the film has earned $12.7 million in the U.S. and Canada.

Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon, now in its fourth weekend, earned $4.65 million. The film has a domestic total of $59.9 million.