Things Just Got a Whole Lot Worse for Disney and The Marvels

It’s no secret that Marvel’s latest release in its cinematic universe, The Marvels, has struggled mightily at the box office since its November 10th release, poised to be the first major loss that the franchise will suffer after hauling in a paltry $47 million on its opening weekend. While Marvel no doubt hoped its second weekend would see, at the very least, a relatively manageable dip in numbers, the reality has proven to be another disaster of historical proportions, more so than most people would have thought…including myself.

Last week I broke down The Marvels’ poor opening weekend numbers and what it could mean for Marvel moving forward, but I singled out Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s significant 69% drop in box office numbers going into week two as a troubling sign, and while it did make a solid $104 million in its opening weekend, this was a record for Marvel that they certainly did not want to set, and the movie ultimately failed to break even, at least during its theatrical run. I warned that The Marvels could very well suffer a similar fate in its subsequent weekend, though I did at least note that “While I don’t expect a drop quite so severe, that’s only because it will surely make more $15 million”, which is what it would make if it too suffered a 69% drop in ticket sales. 

How foolish I was.

With the dust having settled this past weekend, the box office numbers are out they are not good. Not only has The Marvels set the record for the lowest opening weekend of any MCU movie, but it now holds a record that no studio wants, with domestic ticket sales having dropped 79% in its second weekend, making it the single greatest week two box office plummet not just in the MCU, but in the history of comic book movies, having only brought in a shockingly low $10.2 million domestically, and $19.5 million internationally, 69% less than its $63 million the previous week. The record was previously held by Sony’s utterly forgettable MCU-adjacent vehicle Morbius, which saw a 74% drop in its second week.

These two records on their own are bad enough, but combined, they make for an unmitigated disaster that would have seemed near impossible for Marvel just a couple of years ago. Marvel, and by extension its parent company Disney, really needed some kind of a win here, but instead, they add to what has been an utterly calamitous year at the box office for the Mouse House. Disney spent a billion dollars on four prior releases this year, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, The Little Mermaid, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and the maligned TV show Secret Invasion. While the latter is a production to boost Disney+ subscriptions, the other three saw varying but nonetheless, significant losses at the box office, and this is all without mentioning The Marvels, or the soon-to-be-released Wish, whose non-existent marketing and middling reviews are certainly not going to do its box office hopes any favours. 

Things only get worse for Disney if you look back to 2022 where they also had two major flops, Turning Red and Strange World, which rank amongst the biggest box office bombs of all time, and now The Marvels is all but certain to be joining them in the most unbecoming annals of commercial cinematic history. For those still not convinced, as mentioned last week, DC’s The Flash, which is now one of the biggest box office bombs of all time, cost essentially the same as The Marvels to produce, and yet The Flash still has it beaten in pretty much every financial metric this far into its box office run.

It’s a truly shocking fall from grace, and it is likely very safe to assume that alarm bells are going off over at Disney right now.

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