There was a time, not all that long ago, when a new Marvel Studios release would be a guaranteed hit, regardless of whether the film starred one of the world’s most popular superheroes or introduced audiences to characters that few have seen before. knew. Experts wondered how long such an interconnected franchise could sustain itself as the Marvel Cinematic Universe emerged as the highest-grossing film series in history and continued to break records.
Marvel broke another record this weekend, though no one in Hollywood could have predicted just a few years ago. The miraclesfilmmaker Nia DaCosta’s sequel to the $1 billion hit Captain Marvel (2019), debuted with the lowest opening weekend box office in the MCU’s fifteen-year history. The numbers are sobering for a film that cost more than $250 million to produce, and have led fans, commentators and Hollywood insiders to wonder: Are Marvel’s days in the spotlight over?
Some are all too quick and pick up a shovel and start digging a grave for the MCU, a move that feels premature considering recent hits like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever And Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
But one thing is undeniable: Marvel Studios can no longer just rely on the Marvel Studios name to get butts in seats, it has to give audiences a reason to be excited, to feel like they’re going to do something see something they have never seen before. , and not just something they can watch on their TV later.
Several factors have been mentioned The miracles‘ poor attendance, from the actors’ strike that kept charismatic leads Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani from promoting the film, to lackluster marketing, to superhero fatigue.
Others have attributed The miracles‘being open to racism and misogyny; it was directed by a black woman and two of the leads in the film are POC. I hesitate to use that as a takeaway because it seems like the kind of excuse studios have historically used to ignore POC films, especially those starring and directed by women. That’s not to say that misogyny and racism don’t exist, but the successes of Barbie and led by women Wakanda forever goes against that narrative.
The most obvious culprit is the plethora of Marvel projects released in recent years. Marvel Studios, led by Disney’s Bob Iger and then Bob Chapek, oversaturated the market with Marvel projects to drive up Disney+ subscriptions. But releasing multiple projects every quarter left audiences feeling exhausted and behind.
For all of Marvel’s Infinity Saga’s shortcomings, it felt more focused. There was a set number of characters, all of whose stories took place in films. After-Avengers: Endgamewe’ve been introduced to a host of new characters who for the most part don’t interact with each other, whose projects all set up different storylines that have yet to come together, and who haven’t been seen in between projects for years. making it difficult for audiences to latch on to, like the OG Avengers.
The fact that there hasn’t been one New Avengers film feels like a huge mistake. An Avengers movie prior to The miracles probably would have benefited the film, just like Captain Marvel benefited enormously from the interim release Avengers: Infinite War And Avengers: Endgame. Still, Marvel seems intent on saving the Avengers for the conclusion of the Multiverse Saga Avengers: The Kang Dynasty And Avengers: Secret Warsin an attempt to create the next one Infinite war And Endgame.
But that was never the point of the Avengers. The point was to bring new characters together and solidify who they are amid their peers and global threats. In the comics, The Avengers The film runs monthly, and while the Avengers movies need to feel special, they don’t have to take a decade to build either. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have seen Doctor Strange, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Shang-Chi, Black Panther, Ant-Man, and the Wasp team up as the newest version of the Avengers at this point.
Marvel Studios has also cannibalized projects that would have made great movies to create “content” for Disney+. Secret invasionSamuel L. Jackson’s poorly received series from earlier this year could easily have been similar Captain America: Civil War and played out on the big screen, instead of becoming a haphazardly put together show that threw away valuable characters, shared no resemblance to Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Francis Yu’s hit comedy event, and actively damaged the MCU with a last-minute character power up.
Regardless of opinions about The miracles‘ story, that’s clear Captain Marvel: Secret Invasion would have had greater appeal to the public. It would have allowed fans to go straight to a graphic novel and build excitement, which it did Civil war. Monica and Kamala could still have taken it into account, and in addition to a mix of new and old heroes, it could have made for a twisty event that really nailed the themes Captain Marvel set up. It would have firmly established Captain Marvel as a major character going forward. Instead, we have the significant possibility that The miracles will be Captain Marvel’s last solo film.
Nevertheless, Marvel Studios will move forward, having learned from the disappointments of the past year. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes may ultimately benefit the MCU in the long run, forcing the studio to push all but Deadpool 3 from 2024 and into 2025. The move will give audiences a much-needed reprieve from the ongoing Marvel projects, and given the excitement that mere set photos of Hugh Jackman in Wolverine’s classic blue and yellow costume are generating, and the fact that Deadpool 3 will essentially be Marvel Studios’ first real attempt at making live-action mutants, chances are that by this time next summer everyone will be talking about Marvel Studios’ big comeback.
The miracles is certainly not alone in this year’s disappointing box office for superheroes, with DC’s Shazam! Anger of the gods, The flash And Blue Beetle and Marvels Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania all underperform. Superhero fatigue is the most common theory, and I think there’s definitely some of that out there. But then you see its success Guards Vol. 3 And Spider-Man: About the spider-Verse this summer, or the goodwill surrounding superhero-centric shows Generation V, Loki And Invincible. Suddenly, fatigue feels a little too much like an easy catch-all.
The performance of The miracles this past weekend is undeniably a disappointment. But every long-running franchise goes through growing pains. Just as Bond didn’t die when Timothy Dalton’s films disappointed at the box office, and Batman managed to get the cold shoulder from Batman and Robin, Marvel will not die. It’s an institution at this point.
And while we may get fewer movies, hopefully we’ll get movies that are more cost-effective and of more consistent quality. That’s the Marvel method that made the MCU such a hitmaker in the first place, and a familiar formula that can still work while moving forward with new characters and new stories. The era of Marvels isn’t over yet. He’s a little tired, scarred and has a black eye as he tries to push through the wreckage on his back, but as we all know, heroes often come at their best.