The Flash Was One of 2023's Biggest Flops; The Marvels Will Be Worse
Only Eternals made less in its opening weekend. The Marvels, on the other hand, promises to be a total flop.
With each new release, the phenomenon of 'superhero fatigue' seems less like a theory and more like a disappointing reality. While four or five years ago the DC Extended Universe and the MCU were reaping successes, and a billion-dollar-plus global box office didn't seem out of the ordinary, now movies can only boast of their achievements as commercial failures.
The failure of The Flash came as no surprise to comic book fans, but a complete disappointment. Only now, Warner Bros. and DC should step out of the way, because Disney and Marvel may take their place, as the upcoming The Marvels promises to be a new phenomenon in the world of commercial flops.
While Phase 4 had several failures like Eternals, the new installments of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Thor and Black Panther have brought in a fair amount of revenue for the studio. In contrast, Phase 5 began with commercial failures, with Quantumania becoming a box office disappointment and the Secret Invasion series receiving mostly negative reviews.
The problem is how chaotic the production process is now under the direction of Bob Iger and Kevin Feige. Production crews and VFX artists are constantly overworked, screenwriters don't have time to finish their material, and executives force changes at the last minute. In this way, the MCU has become a pipeline that relies heavily on the Disney+ series and continues to draw on the dying metastory that unites all the others. As a result, audiences are simply tired of following each release, which may or may not be successful.
The last commercially successful movie was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but it marks the end of the old MCU and James Gunn 's last project within it. Can fans look forward to more stories, a new Phase 5 and Phase 6 to follow? Preliminary estimates for The Marvels suggest not.
Released in 2019, Captain Marvel managed to earn an impressive $153 million in its opening weekend in U.S. theaters, with a final worldwide gross of $1.131 billion. Both are due to the fact that Brie Larson's character played a pivotal role in the finale of the Phase 4's Avengers saga.
However, the opening weekend of the sequel, which will be released in a few days, promises to be much smaller. A few months ago, predictions were around $70-$80 million in OW terms, then it went even lower to $50-$70 (50% lower than the original!). Now some are predicting $45 million or lower.
Trailing the Main Competitor
According to Deadline, pre-sales indicate an impending failure for The Marvels. Apparently, they're pacing behind Black Adam and The Flash, earning less than $70 million (compared to $67 million and $55 million, respectively). And if the opening weekend is predicted to be even worse, it looks like neither Larson's Carol Danvers nor Iman Vellani 's Kamala Khan should expect to appear in other MCU projects.
Aside from the fact that 'fatigue' is a valid reason for the movie's likely failure, the problem also lies in both the insane production process (the film was reshot up to four times, and was swapped with Quantumania), an unreasonably high budget that risks not paying off, and the fact that due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, the marketing campaign is practically non-existent due to the cast's inability to promote the film. Even if the strike is miraculously resolved soon, it is far from certain that the cast will have time to participate in promotion during the release.