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Disney MCU’s Lowest Opening Weekend Ever Is In Play – Deadline

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EXCLUSIVE, Friday afternoon update: The Marvels is shaping up to be the lowest domestic opening ever for a Disney Marvel Cinematic Universe title, with a 3-day swing of $47M-$55M. That’s lower than Marvel/Universal’s The Incredible Hulk ($55.4M in 2008) and lower than Ant-Man ($57.2M, 2015).

Wait a second — what about Howard the Duck, which debuted to $5M in 1986? We’re talking about all those movies steered and produced by Kevin Feige, largely while he was producing Paramount and Disney Marvel movies (Incredible Hulk being in the canon, with cameos by Iron Man’s Robert Downey Jr).

But more to the low openings for Marvel movies. There have been others outside Disney’s MCU, i.e. Sony/Marvel’s Morbius ($39M in 2022), 20th Century Fox’s 2015 Fantastic Four reboot ($25.6M), 1998’s Blade at $17M and Fox/Marvel’s Daredevil spinoff Elektra at $12.8M. Comparing The Marvels to those movies, it’s not the lowest ever for a feature Marvel adaptation.

Friday looks to be $21M-$22M, including previews, for the pic starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani. Hopefully, the last-minute stunting with stars back to work after the actors strike helps.

No. 2 belongs to third weekend of Universal/Blumhouse’s Peacock day-and-date title Five Nights at Freddy’s, which is at 3,691 theaters with $2.6M Friday and 3-day $7.8M, -59%, and $126M running total.

EXCLUSIVE, updated: Marvel Studios‘ sequel, The Marvels, has clocked around $6.5M in Thursday night previews we hear from sources. Disney called the night at $6.6M for showtimes that began at 3PM yesterday.

The fear out there by many is that this $200M budgeted sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel –which stands as the highest grossing female superhero movie of all-time–could clock the lowest start ever stateside for a Marvel Studios movie; lower than The Incredible Hulk (which was a Universal release before Disney absorbed the MCU) which had a $55.4M start. While tracking took its projections down from $80M to $60M for The Marvels, there is a concern out there that The Marvels could see a $40M+ start.

At $6.5M that’s one of the lower previews we’ve seen in recent times from Marvel, just one notch above Ant-Man ($6.4M, $57.2M) and lower than Disney November misfires The Eternals ($9.5M previews, $71.2M opening) and Thor: Dark World ($7.1M previews, $85.7M). The Incredible Hulk has the lowest previews of $2M for an MCU title in the preview era, but that’s when previews began at midnight.

Advance ticket sales of $5M indicated The Marvels was flying into The Flash‘s territory opening wise. However, The Flash‘s preview figure was higher at $9.7M off showtimes that began at 3PM Thursday.

Critical reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are at 61% fresh, but the RT audience score is higher at 85% — which is promising, however, the die-hards always come out on Thursday night. Thursday night PostTrak exits from ComScore/Screen Engine were severe for general audiences at 3.5 stars, but 4 1/2 stars from parents and 5 stars from kids under 12. That said, kids and parents combined only repped 9% of last night’s audience. The Marvels skewed guys at 63% with men over 25 the biggest turnout at 45% and women over 25 at 24%. That latter demo gave the best recommendation grades of any demo at 61%.

There’s a cacophony of reasons why The Marvels isn’t playing to better levels, one of them being the recently ended actors strike which stifled the pic’s promotion at San Diego and NY Comic-Cons. In the last two days since the strike ended, the pic’s cast is in a whirlwind to show up on late night TV (Brie Larson set to appear on The Tonight Show tonight) and also show up at movie-theaters; Iman Vellani and director Nia DaCosta doing so yesterday at Hollywood’s El Captain.

Larson given the strike’s end can finally scream to the world that The Marvels are here:

Social media analytics firm RelishMix notices that chatter on “The Marvels is tracking mixed leaning toward discontent, while debating issues of superhero fatigue and comparing this title to Marvel titles over the last decade stating, ‘We all miss The Avengers.’ Added frustration comes from the need to watch several of the TV series to get up to speed on the movie.” 

The social media universe per RelishMix for The Marvels across TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, X and YouTube views stands at 599M which is 14% under comps norms for superhero titles. Ugh.

Another movie set to crash this weekend is Sony/Affirm’s faith-based musical Journey to Bethlehem which earned $250K last night from previews that began at 2PM from 1,823 locations. The pic is set to arrive in the low single digits.

Elsewhere at the box office Universal/Blumhouse’s second Thursday of its Peacock day-and-date Five Nights Freddys did $1.1M yesterday, +15% from Wednesday, for a second week of $24M and running total of $118.2M at 3,789 theaters.

AMC’s Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour saw an estimated $767K and fourth week of $14.3M for a running total of $166.8M at 3,604.

Paramount’s Killers of the Flower Moon posted an estimated $650K, -8%, for a third week of $9.95M and running total of $55.2M at 3,786 theaters.

A24’s Priscilla at 1,359 saw a second Thursday of $627K, +8%, second week of $7.5M and running total of $7.8M.

Angel Studios’ After Death booked at 2,730 theaters saw a $200K Thursday, -20%, and $3.08M second week for a $10M running total.

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