Bob Iger Comments On What Went Wrong With ‘The Marvels’

Disney movies seem to be struggling this year.


Some struggled initially at the box office (for example, Elemental started slow, but eventually became a hit). Others continue to struggle, including The Marvels, the most recent Marvel movie. But WHY did The Marvels not score big at the box office? Well, Disney CEO Bob Iger believes he knows why.

When The Marvels opened in theaters, it premiered with $47 million domestically, a low for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) franchise. Currently, it has earned $77 million domestically and $187 million worldwide, making it the first MCU movie NOT to hit $100 million in the domestic market. 

Now, we might speculate that part of the problem is that theaters, in general, are struggling this year. Save for a few summer breakout hits like Barbie and Oppenheimer, people aren’t going to the movies like they used to. We could even blame the bad economy for that. Also, The Marvels release fell during the historic SAG-AFTRA strike, when the stars of the film were unable to do any promotion for the movie.


Analysts blamed The Marvels failure at the box office on studios rolling out too many films, focusing on quantity over quality. Iger, though, also believes that The Marvels needed more supervision on its set. According to CNBC, the Disney CEO spoke about it during The New York Times DealBook Summit.

The Marvels was shot during COVID,” he said. “There wasn’t as much supervision on the set, so to speak, where we have executives [that are] really looking over what’s being done day after day after day.”


The Marvels was directed by Nia DaCosta, the first Black woman to direct a Marvel movie plus it was led by three female leads. It received solid reviews but those didn’t convince people to go theaters to see it. However, Iger mentioned that Disney might need to think differently about what qualifies as a box office success.

He said, “I’m not sure another studio will ever achieve some of the numbers that we achieved. I mean, we got to the point where if a film didn’t do a billion dollars in global box office, we were disappointed. That’s an unbelievably high standard, and I think we have to get more realistic.”


However, The Marvels isn’t the only Disney-owned movie that failed to deliver at the box office in 2023. This year marks the first non-pandemic year that Disney failed to deliver a $1 billion box office hit, although Wish, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania all debuted in theaters in 2023.

Iger also mentioned that the company plans on focusing more on quality than quantity moving forward in the future with Disney’s movies, only releasing sequels if they can stand up to or be better than their original films. Iger said that Disney would “only greenlight a sequel if we believe the story that the creators want to tell is worth telling.”

We’ll have to see if this new strategy works for Disney going into 2024. Movies slated for the 2024 schedule include Deadpool 3, Mufasa: The Lion King, and Inside Out 2.

Check back with AllEars again soon for more.

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2 Replies to “Bob Iger Comments On What Went Wrong With ‘The Marvels’”

  1. The last 7 Disney releases have all lost money. Interesting to read the blame game
    for The Marvels, but the fact remains, it’s a bad movie.

    1. I would say that I liked it, just not nearly as much as the first Captain Marvel. It puzzled me that the studio would shoehorn two other heroes into the Captain’s sequel. It was originally styled as “Captain Marvel 2,” and then apparently somebody got cold feet because it mutated into “The Marvels.” A lot of people had very little or zero idea who the teenager was. And while most people recalled Monica from the first film, now she’s grown up and played by someone else so there was no carryover with that original young actress (who was excellent in Captain Marvel, btw). That reminded me of how Cassie got re-cast in the course of the Ant-Man films, which I found annoying.

      With respect to the substance of the film, a lot of it just seemed too silly and should have been replaced by some more backstory for the villain. I was not on board with that visit to the Broadway musical planet, or the scene where the guy tries to sell retirement plans to space station aliens. I think it needed more scenes on Hala or at least some more exposition for the big bad. She didn’t descend into generic doomsday villain status, but there still should have been more.

      The main thing for me, though, is that the other two heroes should not have been co-stars. Captain Marvel needed to take care of sequel business solo. And boost up the runtime to 2:05 or so with more background-related scenes for the villain.