For the last 15 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has stood atop the moviegoing world like an Ant-Man-like colossus, batting away rivals and collecting more cash than many South American dictatorships. But eventually, we all knew the franchise would meet its ultimate foe: audience indifference. And it appears that time may be upon us.
Sure, The Marvels—the MCU’s latest big-screen release—won the weekend. But it earned “just” $47 million in North America, according to early estimates. That’s less than a third of what the original Captain Marvel made back in the pre-COVID days of 2019 (when it earned $153.4 million in its debut weekend), and a low-water mark for the MCU as a whole. Previously, Ant-Man had been (appropriately) the MCU’s tiniest opener with $57.2 million.
The Marvels didn’t fare that much better overseas, either—zapping up just $41.5 million for a global gross of $88.5 million. Keep in mind that Disney and Marvel reportedly spent $300 million to make and publicize the film.
The signs of an MCU slowdown have been with us for a while. While Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 did just fine this year (earning $359 million during its early summer run), Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania also struggled, earning just $214.5 million this winter and spring.
Certainly, superheroes are known for their come-from-behind victories—sometimes going so far as to rise from the dead. But The Marvels’ performance thus far is not encouraging.
Holdovers dominated the rest of the box office’s top five.
Two-time box-office champ Five Nights at Freddy’s finished second with $9 million. That swells its total domestic tally to $127.2 million—enough to buy plenty of overpriced, cardboard-flavored pizzas.
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour continues to flaunt its own cinematic might, finishing the week third with $5.9 million. The biopic Priscilla notched $4.8 million for fourth place, and Killers of the Flower Moon pocketed nearly $4.7 million for fifth.