In the realm of cinema, Marvel movies have long been known for their action-packed sequences, mind-blowing special effects, and sharp-witted banter that made them a staple for family entertainment. These elements contributed to their immense success over the years. However, the winds of wokeness have swept through the Marvel universe, leaving a once-thriving franchise gasping for breath at the box office.
Enter “The Marvels,” the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, featuring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani as the heroic trio. Despite high hopes and marketing hype, it stumbled spectacularly during its opening weekend, becoming Disney’s biggest disappointment in recent memory.
“The Marvels” suffered the ignominy of claiming the title for the worst opening ever for a Marvel movie. To put things in perspective, even “The Hulk,” a film released way back in 2008, managed to rake in $79 million in its opening weekend in the United States and Canada. In stark contrast, “The Marvels” limped along with a meager $47 million in ticket sales in the same region. While it did slightly better in international markets, earning an additional $63.3 million, the domestic performance was nothing short of dismal.
One might wonder why such a staggering disparity in box office figures. The answer lies in the film’s colossal production costs, which soared to a staggering $300 million. With theaters taking their share, the movie faces an uphill battle just to break even. Although Disney secured a $55 million subsidy from the United Kingdom for shooting the film there, it still leaves them needing to gross at least $439.6 million to cover their costs, given the customary revenue split between theaters and filmmakers.
In stark contrast, “Captain Marvel,” the precursor to “The Marvels,” managed to generate a significantly more robust $153 million in opening weekend ticket sales in domestic theaters in 2019. Ultimately, it crossed the billion-dollar mark, a feat that now seems light years away for the struggling franchise.
Tony Chambers, Disney’s Executive Vice President of Theatrical Distribution, struggled to explain away the disappointing numbers, suggesting that audience confusion over the necessary prerequisites on Disney+ might have deterred potential viewers. He said, “There may have been a barrier to entry, with some people assuming they needed to have already watched the Disney+ shows to understand the film.”
However, critics, especially conservatives, argue that the film’s woke agenda and Disney’s increasingly heavy-handed insertion of leftist messages in their movies have alienated a significant portion of their audience. The Clown World X account commented, “Name a worse company making movies than Disney? Watching them destroy every franchise we loved from Star Wars to Marvel was disappointing, but it was nice to watch them lose millions in the process. Disney has lost entire generations of parents who are not woke progressives that will never introduce their children to Disney movies now and will not go to their theme parks. Watching Disney undo almost a century of work in a decade has been insane.”
As the dust settles on “The Marvels” box office debacle, it serves as a stark reminder that injecting woke ideology into beloved franchises can come at a steep cost. While the Marvel universe once soared to great heights, it now finds itself struggling to regain its former glory amidst a changing cultural landscape.