The Marvels’ low box office highlights Disney’s problems

the marvels inspired by Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, it turns out
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The Marvels is struggling at the box office according to reports, emphasising the problems Marvel Studios currently faces.

As we wrote a couple of weeks ago, Disney isn’t really enjoying its 100th birthday in the style to which it has become accustomed over the past few years. Since the high point of 2019, the company has struggled on several fronts. In fairness, lots of these areas are creating problems for other film studios, too, and have much to do with the state of the wider world. However, over the last couple of years, the House of Mouse has struggled to even release films that connect with audiences in the way that its output used to do on a very regular basis.

Enter The Marvels. Reviews of the film have been pretty positive (here’s ours) with some arguing that it’s a better film than its 2019 predecessor, Captain Marvel. The latter earned $153m worldwide in its opening weekend, benefitting favourably from being situated between two monster-sized Avengers films, not to mention a year that was huge for the global box office.

According to reports (like this Variety one), The Marvels has opened to $110m worldwide, which is being touted as a disappointment. Likely in anticipation of such a result, we’ve already seen Disney respond by clearing its 2024 schedule of all but one Marvel Studios film, that being Deadpool 3. While this is in part due to the effect of the strikes, it looks like the company is looking to use the ripple effect of the strike action to ‘rest’ the MCU for a while in the hope that absence will make fans’ hearts grow fonder.

Read more: The Marvels review | Promising sequel gets bogged down

It seems silly to write a film off based on its opening weekend, and as we’ve seen with Pixar’s Elemental this past year, movies can have legs and go on to do good business over a protracted box office run. Whether good word of mouth can yet benefit The Marvels in any way remains to be seen, but Marvel Studios has some momentum now, given that its last two cinematic releases (The Marvels and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3) have been a callback to the fun days of superhero cinema before ‘superhero fatigue’ became a regular phrase in the cultural lexicon.

Still, we have a feeling that that’s not the messaging is going to play out this time around. It’s certainly not the case regarding the reporting on The Marvels at the moment. We’ll bring you more on this one as we hear it.

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