Movies & TV / Columns

How Disney Beat the Captain Marvel Trolls

March 9, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Captain Marvel Brie Larson

While we should be celebrating yet another Marvel triumph with Captain Marvel and what it means to the continuing cinematic universe, it seems a very flaccid, vocal minority needs to be addressed.

Captain Marvel launched with an impressive $34.3 million in China on Friday. For comparison, that’s the second-biggest opening day for a comic book superhero movie ahead of Venom’s $34.2 million, Captain America: Civil War’s $30.4 million, Avengers: Age of Ultron’s $33 million.

Stateside, Disney is reporting that Captain Marvel took in $20.7 million from Thursday screenings, placing it in the top 5 Marvel releases. Estimates are coming in for a debut weekend somewhere between $82 million and $107 million. That should give the movie a $120-$140 million US and a global haul between $300 and $350 million.

When it comes to scoring, ComScore/Screen Engine PostTrak look good with 4 1/2 stars and a 73% definite recommend. Men overall led over females, 60% to 40% and Captain Marvel pulled in a 77% general audience, 9% parents and 4% kids. Kids under 12 gave the female superhero five stars with girls giving the pic 100% and boys 91%.

So where’s the problem?

You might have noticed that your social media had a burst of articles proclaiming the many issues with Captain Marvel; that Disney had lost faith in it, that it’s box office was in jeopardy, and even a wave or poor reviews on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDB.

Brie Larson herself was a target, taking such barbs like she, and the movie, were “too political”, that she was forcing a diversity agenda on fans and audiences, and she was ruining Captain Marvel.

That’s when Larson and Disney took the offense and turned the tables on the limp troll attacks.

Larson was busy in interviews and social media countering accusations she was weak or that she needed to smile more. Most notable was her sharing a pic of the various Marvel superheroes with photoshopped smiles.

Larson was prepared and direct. Focusing on the general trolling instead of getting bogged down by pointless arguments with racists and/or sexists.

Disney execs were a little more subtle, as they are learning more and more how to combat this new wave of toxic attacks. But studios have admitted that they have grown their social media teams to monitor social media activity.

What’s becoming clear is these trolls are not the influencers they pretend to be. Yes, media outlets, and people like me specifically, write articles about them, giving them the attention they crave and use to satisfy their purpose, but we’re coming to the tipping point where these attacks will get less attention and they will slink back to their dark corners.

Social media is till the Wild West and we have a ways to go before we fully maximize it but until then, beware of the trolls and their miserable ways. It’s becoming more and more clear this tiny minority of angry, ignorant voices are losing their impact. Maybe Disney didn’t beat them as much as they are beating themselves.