‘The Marvels’ Has Nothing To Blame but Itself if It Doesn’t Restore the MCU To Box Office Domination
Although it likely wasn’t the intention, Warner Bros. has just cleared the runway for Disney’s Marvel Studios to end its tumultuous 2023 on a high this fall. As you may have heard, much-anticipated sci-fi sequel Dune: Part Two has been forced to delay its release until next March amid the ongoing strikes, with WB preferring to hold off until they can get Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and the rest of the cast to help promote the movie. This means that, as things stand, what could’ve been our next Barbenheimer-like battle of the blockbusters has been cancelled, as The Marvels will now go it alone this November.
On the face of it, this is wholly good news for the Brie Larson vehicle. The Marvels looked to be seriously in trouble when it was confirmed that Dune 2 would hoover up all the IMAX screens, causing the MCU movie to lose out on a seriously lucrative and sizeable slice of its revenue. With its rival out of the way, though, and with Marvel seemingly set on moving forward with its planned release date, The Marvels has nothing standing in its way as it attempts to match the success of its predecessor and cross the coveted $1 billion mark on the box office.
And yet this might just come back to bite the film in the long-term. If The Marvels had underwhelmed financially when it was up against Dune, its defenders could always have argued that it wasn’t the movie’s fault and it was just the unfair IMAX competition that impacted on it. Now, however, if the sequel can’t do the same kind of numbers as Captain Marvel did in 2019 then Marvel will be forced to look inwards at why it couldn’t recapture the global gross of its forebear and ask whether that’s anything to do with changing opinions about the MCU.
As I’ve argued before, though, The Marvels is actually coming out at the perfect time to be in with a shot of hitting $1 billion, as those that loved Barbie may well be on the hunt for another feminist adventure film. So, with any luck, Nia DaCosta’s film will embrace the fact Dune Part Two has failed to turn up to the fight and turn a default win into a well-deserved victory. Obviously, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was no slouch, but it is a fact that no non-team-up MCU movie has reached $1 billion since Captain Marvel. If The Marvels — unchallenged as it is — can’t break this trend, then what can?
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