The Real Reason ‘The Marvels’ Is Struggling at the Box Office

“The Marvels,” from Marvel Studios and Disney, made $21.5 million on Friday and is expected to earn between $47 million and $52 million over the opening weekend. This would be the lowest opening for any movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“The Marvels,” the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is experiencing a notable downturn at the box office, a situation that mirrors the broader challenges facing serial films. When “Captain Marvel” premiered in 2019, it boasted one of the MCU’s highest opening weekends, a stark contrast to the lukewarm reception of “The Marvels.” This sequel barely surpassed the opening day gross of “The Incredible Hulk” from 2008 and lagged behind earlier films like “Ant-Man,” signaling a potential franchise low.

This box office struggle for “The Marvels” can be attributed to a phenomenon seen in film series: the performance of each movie is heavily influenced by the reception of its predecessors.

Despite the MCU’s longstanding success and nearly $30 billion in box office earnings since 2008, recent entries like “Thor 4,” “Ant-Man 3,” and “Secret Invasion” have received mixed to poor receptions. These films, perceived as lackluster or uninteresting, have contributed to a snowball effect of declining interest and skepticism among viewers. This phenomenon was previously observed in the DC film series and now appears to be impacting Marvel.

Interestingly, the success of other MCU movies, like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” didn’t seem to bolster “The Marvels.” This suggests that each MCU film is not just battling its own narrative and production quality but also the lingering sentiments from previous installments. Had “The Marvels” been released in a different year, such as 2022, its reception might have been more favorable. This timing issue raises questions about the influence of preceding films and the overall trajectory of the MCU.

“The Marvels” also faces the challenge of living up to the high standards set by its predecessor and the hefty expectations attached to its $220 million production cost. The lukewarm reviews and a “B” grade from Cinema Score reflect a disconnect between the film and its audience, which could be a result of the cumulative impact of previous MCU films’ performances.

“The Marvels” is more than just a standalone film; it’s part of the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe, where the success or failure of each movie affects the others. Its struggle at the box office highlights how the interconnected nature of serial filmmaking and the legacy of previous movies significantly influence audience expectations and reception.

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