Box office: ‘The Marvels’ delivers worst opening for Marvel Cinematic Universe ever with just $47 million

It’s been a few months since we’ve had a superhero movie bomb on par with Marvel’s “The Marvels” — Warner Bros’ “The Flash” movie — but even that didn’t compare to the disaster we saw this past weekend. Read on for the box office report.

The fact that Brie Larson‘s introduction as Carol Danvers in “Captain Marvel” in 2019 opened with more than $150 million and grossed more than $400 million domestically and $1.3 billion worldwide should have made “The Marvels” a sure bet this weekend, but early tracking and slow ticket pre-sales seemed to suggest otherwise.

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Regardless, Disney opened “The Marvels” in 4,030 locations with previews on Thursday after receiving mixed-to-positive reviews with a 62% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately, the writing was already on the wall, as reactions to the first trailer were fairly negative, and the addition of “WandaVision” co-star Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani‘s “Ms. Marvel” to the mix didn’t seem to stir up much more enthusiasm.

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“The Marvels” delivered just $6.6 million in Thursday previews, which was included in its $21.5 million reported for Friday. Ultimately, “The Marvels” ended up opening with an estimated $47 million, which is more than $100 million less than the opening for “Captain Marvel.” It’s also the lowest opening for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie going all the way back to 2008’s “Iron Man.” It’s even less than the $57 million made by the 2015 “Ant-Man,” the previous holder of that unfortunate record, and also less than many Marvel-related movies released by other studios. (It still did better than 2022’s “Morbius” and 2019’s “Dark Phoenix,” the latter essentially killing off the X-Men franchise at 20th Century Fox.)

“The Marvels” grossed another $63.3 million overseas with China as the number-one market outside of North America with $11.7 million, and that added up to a global opening of $110.3 million.

American audiences that did go out to see “The Marvels” didn’t seem too thrilled, going by its “B” CinemaScore, which is the same received by recent Marvel disappointments “Eternals” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” There’s no way this weekend’s showing can point to anything other than a weakening in the Marvel brand, which may be why many of 2024’s projects were delayed into 2025 this past week. As of now, only Ryan Reynolds‘s “Deadpool 3” is still on the schedule for July 2024.

After two weeks at number-one, Universal’s “Five Nights at Freddy’s” fell to second place with $9 million, down 53% in its third weekend, bringing its domestic total to $127.2 million. It added another $15.4 million overseas to bring its global total to $251.9 million.

“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” also had a large 57% drop in its fifth weekend, taking third place with $5.9 million to bring its domestic gross to $172.5 million.

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Sofia Coppola‘s “Priscilla,” which expanded nationwide last weekend, added over a thousand more theaters this weekend, up to 2,361 theaters total, which allowed it to have a minimal 6% drop, making $4.8 million to bring its domestic total to $12.7 million. That also allowed “Priscilla” to stay in fourth place, putting it ahead of Martin Scorsese‘s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which dropped to fifth place with $4.7 million (down 32%), bringing its own domestic gross to $59.9 million.

Focus Features expanded Alexander Payne‘s critically praised dramedy “The Holdovers” to 778 theaters, allowing it to break into the top 10 in seventh place with $3.2 million and $4.2 million total grossed in North America so far. Presumably, it will continue to add theaters through Thanksgiving and as it starts being nominated for awards in early December.

Sony’s faith-based division, Affirm Films, released the biblical musical “Journey to Bethlehem,” co-starring Antonio Banderas, into 2,002 theaters on Friday, but even with a strong 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, it failed to make much of a mark, opening in eighth place with $2.4 million. It received a favorable “A-” CinemaScore, but that doesn’t make a major difference when few realize the movie even exists.

RLJEfilms’ holiday genre film, “It’s a Wonderful Knife,” co-starring Justin Long and Joel McHale, was released wide into 923 theaters, though it missed the top 10 with just $605,000 grossed, or roughly $655 per theater.

UPDATE: Yash Raj Films released the Bollywood action epic, “Tiger 3,” starring Salman Khan, into 775 theaters on Saturday for Diwali, and it has reported $1.9 million for its two-day weekend to take eighth place.

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A24 also opened Nicholas Cage‘s absurdist comedy “Dream Scenario” into six theaters in New York and L.A. where it reported $216,000, averaging just under $36,000 per theater but with plans to expand over the next few weeks until it’s nationwide on December 1.

Things didn’t look great for those who played this week’s box office prediction game, though not so much for the top three places and with 47 players realizing “The Marvels” would tank with less than $50 million. No, it was the fact that only 11 players picked “Priscilla” to stay in fourth place over “Killers.”

No one went six-for-six in the November 3 game, although “​​michael11391” was the ONLY player who picked “Radical” to take fifth place, giving him a major point advantage among the 42 players who went five-for-six.

On Friday, there are four more wide releases: the prequel “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the animated sequel “Trolls Band Together,” Eli Roth‘s seasonal horror movie “Thanksgiving” and Taika Waititi‘s sports dramedy “Next Goal Wins,” so check back on Wednesday for my take on how well these all might do in Gold Derby’s weekend preview.

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