Since the release of Jon Favreau's Iron Man in 2008, Marvel Studios has never failed when it comes to putting out blockbusters that immediately shoot to the top of the box office charts. The Marvel Cinematic Universe consists of 33 films to date, and every single one of them has opened at #1. It's an awesome streak... but it's a situation where context means a lot, and in the case of Nia DaCosta's The Marvels, the results from its first three days in theaters are otherwise unspectacular.
Check out the full Top 10 in the chart below, and join me after for analysis.
The Marvels Has The Weakest Opening Weekend Of Any Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie To Date
We've known for quite a while that The Marvels wasn't going to end up being one of Marvel Studios' biggest opening weekend hits. Tracking data was analyzed last month and suggested that the movie was not going to have a debut considered typical of the comic book franchise, so we had an idea that results like these were coming. Still, however, it's rough to see the totals, and it may end up have major implications for the future of the MCU.
According to The Numbers, early projections say that The Marvels made $47 million in its opening weekend, which is the weakest performance of any Marvel Studios release to date. That designation previously belonged to Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk, which made $55.4 million when it debuted in June 2008 (two months after the release of Iron Man). The total is far less than what Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Captain Marvel brought in when it hit theaters in March 2019 ($153.4 million) – though certainly a portion of that success can be attributed to it being the last MCU solo film released before Joe and Anthony Russo's Avengers: Endgame.
This is the second major box office issue that Marvel Studios has faced in 2023. While James Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 performed well during the summer (it's the fourth biggest hit worldwide this year, having made $845.5 million), the stumble of The Marvels comes about nine months after the troubles with Peyton Reed's Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania.
Those who follow box office results will remember that the film had a solid opening weekend, earning $106.1 million domestically, but that was followed by a rough 70 percent weekend-to-weekend drop. Curiosity about Jonathan Majors' Kang The Conqueror drew initial interest to the release, as the character is set to be the big bad of the on-going Multiverse Saga, but rough critical reception and buzz led to empty seats in its second Friday-to-Sunday.
The Marvels is not quite in the same boat as Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania, and it will therefore be interesting to see what happens to it at the box office in the coming weeks. There is certainly more enthusiasm about the new film's quality (Quantumania sports a 46 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes compared to The Marvels' mostly positive 63 percent score), and the keyword in the buzz has been "fun"... which was notably not an adjective that was popular about the third Ant-Man And The Wasp feature. How their second weekends will ultimately compare will be interesting to see.
One thing that works to The Marvels' disadvantage is its release date, as the film has come out just ahead of a flood of titles trying to capitalize on the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. The silver lining is that Denis Villeneuve's Dune: Part 2 is not in the mix, as that blockbuster was delayed due to the now-ended SAG-AFTRA strike, but there are a number of other features vying for attention. The biggest of the bunch is Francis Lawrence's prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, but next week will also see the release of Taika Waititi's Next Goal Wins, Eli Roth's Thanksgiving, and Walt Dohrn's Trolls Band Together. A few days later (on the Wednesday before Turkey Day) will see the big screen debuts of Ridley Scott's Napoleon and Fawn Veerasunthorn and Chris Buck's Wish.
With Shawn Levy's Deadpool 3 as the only MCU blockbuster set for theatrical release in 2024, next year will surely be a time of reflection for Marvel Studios, and it will be fascinating to see how internal developments in the aftermath of The Marvels end up changing things for both upcoming Marvel movies and upcoming Marvel TV shows.
Five Nights At Freddy’s Doesn't Bounce Back After Its Awful Second Weekend
Last weekend, the box office saw obvious and predictable results unfurl. Emma Tammi's Five Night's At Freddy's had a stellar opening weekend right before Halloween, but the mix of a negative critical response and a day-and-date streaming distribution plan proved fatal for the kid-friendly horror movie. Instead of young fans returning to theaters (and bringing their parents) to see their new big screen obsession, the ability to watch the film on Peacock killed every ounce of box office momentum. Quantumania's aforementioned 70 percent weekend-to-weekend drop was bad, but the video game adaptation outdid that cliff dive with a 76 percent fall.
As you can probably guess, things aren't getting any better in the film's third week. It was never expected to put up much of a fight against The Marvels, but just two weeks after making $80 million in its debut, the film is now only bringing in nine-figure ticket sales.
Overall, the movie is certainly doing just fine: in addition to the $127.2 million it has brought in domestically, Five Night's At Freddy's has made $124.7 million overseas – which means that the blockbuster made with a $20 million budget (per Variety) has made $251.9 million worldwide. That's a big win for Universal, but one has to wonder just how much money was left on the table as a result of the studio opting for the simultaneous streaming release instead of just waiting two weeks before making the film available on the proprietary platform.
As noted earlier, there are a number of notable titles arriving on the big screen this Friday, so be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to see how all of the new titles shake up the Top 10. For a preview of all the features set to be released between now and the end of the year, head over to our 2023 Movie Release Calendar.