Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani led the film to box office disaster as it grossed just $47 million—the picture was expected to bring in well over that and had a budget of $300 million. Deadline had projected $140 million. It was intended as a sequel to Brie Larson's "Captain Marvel" which grossed over a billion dollars in 2019.
The film's casting choices earned it the reputation of being woke, though director Nia DaCosta said those criticisms are an "unnecessary distraction." Film consultant David A Gross said "This opening is an unprecedented Marvel box office collapse."
The film is in a long line of recent disappointments for Disney, which has been blasted for embedding progressive ideas into its films through casting, character portrayals, and story. These persistent changes at Disney even resulted in a South Park movie that took aim at the brand through the eyes of a disappointed fan. Disney's first diversity czar left the company in June after the race-swapped live action Little Mermaid and the premiere of the studio's first non-binary character, Elemental.
Disney’s executive vice president of theatrical distribution, Tony Chambers, said the low box office numbers may have to do with audiences thinking they had to have seen "the Disney+ films in order to know what was going on in the film. Deadline notes that 64 percent of "The Marvels" audience has Disney+ and may have watched the "Ms. Marvel" series.
"We know the film is resonating with female audiences. We’re going to keep the pressure up and fight the good fight into Thanksgiving," he said.
A survey, however, showed that women were not particularly clamoring to see the film.
"Other diagnostics on The Marvels: 65% male leaning, with 45% men over 25, 22% women over 25 (giving it the best grades at 82%), men under 25 at 20%, and women under 25 at 14%. Biggest demo was 25-34 at 33%. Diversity demos were 36% Caucasian, 27% Latino and Hispanic, 17% Black, and 14% Asian," Deadline said.
Despite that, novelist Stephen King thinks the downturn at the box office can be summed up as "fanboy hate."
"I don’t go to MCU movies, don’t care for them, but I find this barely masked gloating over the low box office for THE MARVELS very unpleasant. Why gloat over failure?" He said.
He followed that up by saying "Some of the rejection of THE MARVELS may be adolescent fanboy hate. You know, 'Yuck! GIRLS!'"
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