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411 Box Office Report: The Marvels Opens Low With $47 Million To Claim #1

November 12, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
THE MARVELS Image Credit: Marvel Studios

The Marvels opened to a disappointing low at the box office this weekend, though it was still enough to easily claim the top spot. The latest MCU film took in $47 million in its opening weekend, a bit below its expected $50 million spot. That’s the lowest that an MCU film has opened to date, “beating” the $55.1 million opening for The Incredible Hulk back in 2008.

There’s a lot of “what went wrong?” going on here, and the answer is a perfect storm of bad factors. Marvel has had a disappointing year to date with some negative buzz all around. While Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 became a major hit, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania did not and was criticized heavily on several aspects, spreading the impression that Marvel has started to drop off. A recent Variety article noting a “crisis” at the studio added to their woes and singled out The Marvels for extensive reshoots which suggested the film might be a disaster. Add in the generally negative reaction to the Secret Invasion television show and other bad news like MCU star Jonathan Majors’ recent legal woes, and you had a skeptical movie-going audience.

The bad buzz was compounded by the fact that, due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, the stars of the film were unable to promote it until the last moment when the strike ended on Thursday. A number of films in recent weeks have underwhelmed in part because they couldn’t be promoted by the cast such as Killers Of the Flower Moon, A Haunting in Venice, Expend4bles, and The Creator. We can add this one to the list as well.

Critic reviews for The Marvels were fine if not stellar at a 62% aggregated average on Rotten Tomatoes, on par with Thor: Love & Thunder, and the audience rating is solid at 84% although the B CinemaScore isn’t stellar for the MCU average. However, none of these metrics were the skyrocketing kinds of numbers that could overcome the headwinds that the film had heading into the weekend.

As it stands, The Marvels will not be a financial success in theaters. It cost $220 million to produce once tax credits were factored in, and the worldwide opening weekend total was $110.3 million. Domestically the film should be able to hold on well enough to get to around $110 million, but that will be a loser by any actual metric.

Five Nights At Freddy’s followed last weekend’s massive fall by stabilizing just a little. The video game adaptation scared up another $9 million in its third weekend, bringing its totals to $127.7 million domestically and $251.9 million worldwide. Even with its hefty falls, it’s a massive hit for Universal against a budget of just $20 million. At this point, the film is still looking likely to top out at around $145 million to $150 million domestically and Universal and Blumhouse will be perfectly content with that.

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour continues to rake in the dough, as it slipped 57% in its fifth weekend to $5.9 million. The concert film has now grossed $172.5 million domestically and $240.9 million worldwide, huge numbers against a budget of just $10 million to $20 million and practically no marketing costs. The film is still looking at around $180 million by the end of its domestic run.

A24 put Priscilla in an additional 1,002 theaters this weekend, and they were rewarded with a drop of just 5% from its opening weekend take. The Priscilla Presley biopic garnered $4.8 million to bring its total to $12.7 million. The positive word of mouth is definitely paying off here, and while it still has a ways to go in order to make back its $20 million production budget, it now looks likely to top $20 million domestically. As has been said before, this one was always expected to find its profit on home video, and it will be likely to do so at this point.

Killers of the Flower Moon dropped a very solid 32% in its fourth weekend to bring in $4.7 million. The Martin Scorsese film has $59.9 million domestically and $126.7 million against a $200 million budget. It should be noted that while this sounds like a problem situation like The Marvels, Flower Moon was never expected to be profitable in theaters by Apple and they’re not overly concerned about it. The film will likely end its domestic run at around $75 million.

Alexander Payne’s latest film, The Holdovers, expanded into 778 theaters this weekend and got off to a solid start. The 1970-set dramedy brought in $3.2 million, bringing its total to $4.3 million thus far. Those are okay numbers for the $30 million-budgeted film, which is likely to get a long build and play well as we get into the holiday season.

Payne is known for films with box office legs, and while his films aren’t blockbusters they generally perform okay. His biggest hit to date is 2011’s The Descendants which topped out at $82.6 million after a $7.3 million start. The Holdovers is set during Christmas break, which will play well into the season, and the critic buzz is high at a 96% RT aggregated score. The film also has early Oscar buzz which will help. It’s tough to say where this one will finish out because it depends on how Focus Features handles the release, but a domestic total of $25 million is not unlikely if everything plays right.

Sony Pictures had a low performer in Journey to Bethlehem, which was unable to capitalize on the recent run of faith-based successes. The live-action pop musical grossed just $2.4 million, well below 2023 openings for films that targeted the faith-based audience like The Blind ($4.3 million), Jesus Revolution ($15.8 million), and even the documentary After Death ($5.1 million).

Journey to Bethlehem was good example of why major studios should probably leave this genre to independent studios. Sure, there’s money on the table for this underserved market, but the films become hits because Fathom Events, Angel Studios and the like know how to handle their targeted marketing. While Bethlehem had decent critic reviews (74% on RT) and those who saw it loved it (an A- CinemaScore), the word was not put out strongly enough and it sunk under a bit as a result. This one should have solid legs, but it probably won’t get above $10 million. Against a $6 million, that might be fine considering the low marketing spend but it’s not a hit.

PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie continues to hold on well, off by 13% in its seventh weekend to $1.8 million. The animated film has now grossed $64.6 million domestically and $184.2 million worldwide against a $30 million budget. It will end its run around $70 million stateside.

Pantelion Films’ Radical also had a good hold, as the Spanish-language drama dropped just 34% in its second weekend to $1.8 million. The Eugenio Derbez-starring film has totaled $5.2 million domestically and $13.1 million worldwide, a very decent result. No word on its budget.

The Exorcist: Believer closed out the top 10 with $1.2 million, down 45% in its sixth weekend. The legacy sequel has grossed $65 million domestically and $132.8 million worldwide, great numbers against a $30 million budget but as we’ve said a portion of the $400 million paid for the rights to the full trilogy to come will be held against it. Still, Universal is probably pleased enough with these results.

The Marvels will cede the #1 spot next weekend to The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. The Lionsgate prequel to the hit franchise is looking at around $45 million to $50 million to start with. Eli Roth’s slasher Thanksgiving should bring in around $10 million, while Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins is targeting the mid-to-high single digits.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. The Marvels – $47 million ($47 million total, $110.3 million WW)
2. Five Nights At Freddy’s – $9 million ($127.2 million total, $251.9 million WW)
3. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour – $5.9 million ($172.5 million total, $240.9 million WW)
4. Priscilla – $4.8 million ($12.7 million total, $12.7 million WW)
5. Killers Of The Flower Moon – $4.7 million ($59.9 million total, $126.7 million WW)
6. The Holdovers – $3.2 million ($4.3 million total, $4.3 million WW)
7. Journey To Bethlehem – $2.4 million ($2.4 million total, $2.4 million WW)
8. PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie – $1.8 million ($64.6 million total, $184.2 million WW)
5. Radical – $1.8 million ($5.2 million total, $13.1 million WW)
6. The Exorcist: Believer – $1.2 million ($63.2 million total, $125.5 million WW)

article topics :

Box Office, The Marvels, Jeremy Thomas