The Marvels, the latest instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has suffered a massive disappointment at the box office over its opening weekend.
Since its release in Australian cinemas on November 9, the film has earned a mere $US2.1 million (approximately $3.2 million AUD), which is far below expectations.
Globally, The Marvels opened with only $US47 million ($73.8 million), a figure strikingly lower than the $US153.4 million ($241 million) debut of its predecessor, Captain Marvel, which eventually grossed $US1.13 billion ($1.77 billion) worldwide.
This dramatic decline represents an unusual setback for Marvel, known for its consistent box office triumphs.
Despite the film’s groundbreaking aspects – such as being the first MCU film directed by a Black woman, Nia DaCosta, and featuring a female-led cast – The Marvels has received lacklustre reviews, scoring just 62 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.
This lukewarm reception is mirrored in the audience responses both in Australia and globally.
The film’s total international earnings of $US41.5 million ($65 million) are unlikely to significantly offset its disappointing start.
This underperformance could mark a critical juncture for the MCU, which has amassed an impressive $US33 billion ($51.8 billion) globally to date.
Industry experts, including UCLA lecturer Tom Nunan, have pointed to a growing “superhero fatigue,” with audiences becoming tired of the formulaic nature of these films. Even Disney CEO Bob Iger has acknowledged concerns about potential oversaturation in the superhero genre.
The film’s struggles were compounded by actors’ strikes, which hindered promotional efforts. Lead actress Brie Larson and her co-stars were only able to begin promoting the film after the strike’s resolution on Wednesday evening.
The wider box office landscape shows varied performances, with Five Nights at Freddy’s and Killers of the Flower Moon following The Marvels in earnings in Australia.
Meanwhile, in the US, Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour concert film remains in the top three earners for the weekend.
Unsurprisingly, Margot Robbie’s Barbie is still easily in the lead as the year’s biggest hit, surpassing $US1.4 billion worldwide.