There’s no point in sugarcoating things, this is a dreadful situation for both Disney and Marvel Studios. It’s also an absolute tragedy that it happened to a women-led team-up movie directed by a woman — one that is not a critical disaster by any means (read our review here). “The Marvels” currently holds a 62% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes to go with an 83% audience rating. But the numbers are what they are, and the MCU is unquestionably in trouble (as are superhero movies in general, but that’s a discussion in and of itself).
“Captain Marvel” made a ridiculous $1.12 billion back in 2019 sandwiched between “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” at the height of MCU fever. Nobody could have fairly expected the sequel to match that number, but at this point, “The Marvels” will be very lucky to touch $300 million worldwide. This comes after “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” collapsed earlier this year following a massive debut, becoming the lowest-grossing “Ant-Man” film despite having the biggest opening weekend. The only straight-up win for Marvel Studios this year was “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” But that was the conclusion of a trilogy, meaning the studio can’t really build on that success.
Between the many MCU shows on Disney+ fighting for attention, a growing number of these projects (like “Secret Invasion”) earning unfavorable reviews, and a change in moviegoing habits following the 2020 lockdowns, the outlook right now is not great. Marvel Studios can no longer operate on a presumed level of success and should probably scale back on both budgets and output for the time being. That’s easier said than done, but even Disney can’t continue to suffer flops like this.
“The Marvels” is currently playing in theaters.