The recent release and disappointing box office performance of The Marvels, a direct sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel, has likely led to some tough questions being asked among Hollywood studio executives. In this piece, I want to discuss the current state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the performance of The Marvels. What does it mean for the future of the hugely successful MCU franchise? Let’s jump in.
Back in 2008, Robert Downey Jr. starred in the Jon Favreau-directed Iron Man. The film received widely positive reviews and was a giant commercial success. Iron Man was the first film released in the MCU and paved the way for the MCU to become far and away the most film franchise of all time. Indeed, the MCU has pulled in over $29 billion as a total worldwide gross since Iron Man’s debut. The Spider-Man films are a distant second at over $10 billion worldwide, with the Star Wars franchise coming in third place.
The Marvels was only able to pull in $109 million at the worldwide box office and $47 at the domestic box office over the previous weekend. That made for the worst domestic weekend opening in the history of the MCU. Some reports suggest that The Marvels carried a budget of $220 million to produce and another $100 million to market.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) has already been in a bind in 2023 with its streaming service Diseny+ suffering steep subscriber losses. However, it is not time to declare the MCU as a dead franchise walking just yet. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 still pulled in over $845 million worldwide and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse raked in $690 million. That said, investors will want to watch the box office performance of the next batch of MCU releases very closely.