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Brie Iman Getty.jpg

Box Office Report: Not So Marvelous

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Film | November 13, 2023 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Film | November 13, 2023 |

Brie Iman Getty.jpg

The SAG-AFTRA strike is over after 118 days, and barely minutes after midnight on Thursday, actors jumped onto social media to begin plugging their projects past and present. We’ve certainly seen solid proof these past few months how tough it is to promote even the most bankable film without the stars’ ability to do so. Nothing is immune, not even Marvel.

That much is clear in 2023, and the ‘has MCU fatigue finally arrived’ discourse gets a second wind. The Marvels opened to only $47 million from 4,030 theatres. That’s the worst debut in MCU history. Initial tracking was closer to $75 million to $80 million, but those projections shrank dramatically in recent weeks. It’s not alone in this misfortune. Marvel hasn’t had the best of years, with most of its 2023 releases faring poorly with critics. An exception to the rule is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but even that opened smaller than its predecessors. It is telling of the state of modern Hollywood that this film can open with $110 million worldwide, and that’s now a total catastrophe.

Alas, The Marvels will also have to face another barrage of bullshit faux-outrage over so-called culture wars. Prepare for the bad-faith headlines on that matter. The reality is that a strike combined with franchise fatigue and middling reviews hit hard, not Brie Larson’s man-hating or whatever Reddit has convinced itself is happening.

Disney is clearly feeling the pinch. Earlier this week, they announced the delay of the next four MCU installments, including a fourth Captain America movie, Deadpool 3, and Blade. Strike-related production delays are the main reason, but I imagine this pushback also gives them time to figure out their long-term strategy for this seeming juggernaut.

The only other major release of the weekend was Journey to Bethlehem, a Christian festive musical that might have some religious messages at its core. Who knows? It made $2.425 million from 2,002 theatres. The comedy horror film It’s a Wonderful Knife, also Christmas-themed, made about $605,110 from 923 locations.

In limited releases, Nicolas Cage and A24’s Dream Scenario brought in a solid $215,552 from only six theatres. One of my favourite films of the year, the documentary Orlando, My Political Biography, opened in one cinema with $7,500.

This coming week sees the release of Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving, the animated sequel Trolls Band Together, and the Hunger Games prequel, The Balland of Songbirds and Snakes.

You can check out the rest of the weekend box office here.