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.
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What do you think is the reason behind ‘The Marvels’ failing at the box office? Let us know in the comments.