The Marvels misfired at the box office, becoming the worst debut in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Nia DaCosta-directed superhero sequel starring Brie Larson as Captain Marvel grossed $47 million opening weekend — enough to top the weekly box office chart but a hollow victory since it's the lowest-grossing MCU movie ever.
With “meh” reviews and recent news about trouble at Marvel, The Marvels had an uphill battle. Not only did tracking indicate low interest in the latest MCU offering, Larson and the other actors could not do interviews or promote the movie due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, which has since ended. Another reason is general superhero fatigue, as evidenced by the performance of Black Adam, The Flash, and Blue Beetle. As reported by Forbes, Disney spent more than $270 million making The Marvels, which doesn't even include marketing costs.
Variety reports, “Only two other films in the sprawling [MCU] series (The Marvels is the 33rd installment in 15 years) have opened to lower than $60 million: 2008’s The Incredible Hulk with $55.4 million and 2015’s Ant-Man with $57.2 million, not adjusted for inflation. Although the MCU has been showing rare signs of wear and tear in its spandex, the franchise’s other two big-screen adventures to open this year, February’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ($106 million) and May’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ($118 million), still managed to hit triple digits in their respective debuts. The third Ant-Man wasn’t labeled a bust until the end of its box office run. The Marvels is the rare MCU movie to flop out of the gate.”
“This is an unprecedented Marvel box office collapse,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “The strikes hurt the film’s marketing, but that’s not what’s driving these numbers. Since the pandemic, superhero films have endured simultaneous streaming, unimaginative and bad movies [and] saturation on TV.”
The Marvels Mid-Credits Scene Threatens More Multiverse Madness
Like most Marvel movies, The Marvels contains a mid-credits scene that hints (or threatens?) at what's next in Phase Whatever We're on Now. Yahoo Entertainment breaks down the scene: “The post-credits scene for The Marvels centers on Monica (pictured, played by Teyonah Parris), who wakes up in a hospital bed after becoming trapped in an alternate universe after the events of the movie. She wakes to find her mother, Maria (Lashana Lynch), watching her, and immediately breaks down in tears and shares how much she missed and loves her.
“Maria is clearly confused by the exchange though, and then is when Dr. Hank McCoy, aka Beast, comes in (voiced by X-Men: The Last Stand‘s Kelsey Grammer) and they discuss the readings from tests conducted on Monica, who they realize is from a different version of Earth which Hank claims is impossible.
“Hank mentions Professor X wants to see Monica and Maria is seen in full costume, her superhero suit giving away that she is Binary from the Marvel Comics. Upon realizing her situation she simply says, ‘s–t.'”
If MCU post-credits scenes hint at what comes next, expect more muddled multiverse madness and alternate timelines. At this point, it doesn't matter — anything could happen and any character could return, even those thought dead. As with all MCU properties, understanding this convoluted mess requires watching several other TV shows and movies besides the one audiences paid to see in the theater. The last episode of Loki season two suggests that the God of Mischief is literally pulling the strings of all the different timelines. Marvel may want to ask him to work some magic and bring back Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans to make Marvel event movies again.