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Must Reads: The Marvels Tanks as Marvel Studios Falters, Linklater Reveals Next Project, and More News

We’re going to forego our weekly Monday morning box office recap today to just focus on the big box office story of this past weekend, that being the release of Marvel Studios‘ The Marvels, meant as a sequel to the 2019 blockbuster, Captain Marvel, which introduced Brie Larson as Carol Danvers aka the title character, and grossed $1.1 billion worldwide with more than $400 million domestically. The movie opened with $153.4 million on International Women’s Day in March, just a few months before Avengers: Endgame, and seemed to point to a potential sub-franchise for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Four years later, and The Marvels reunites Larson with Samuel L. Jackson‘s Nick Fury, while also bringing on board Teyonah Parris‘ Monica Rambeau from WandaVision and Iman Vellani‘s Ms. Marvel, two of Marvel’s more popular Disney+ shows. The sequel was directed by talented up and comer Nia DaCosta from 2021’s Candyman remake. What could possibly go wrong?

Roughly a month ago, word started coming in that ticket presales were slow, many presuming that the upcoming MCU movie was being overshadowed by sales for Taylor Swift‘s Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour. Reviews were mixed to positive with 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, but tracking never improved, and when Thursday previews only brought in $6.6 million, the writing was on the wall for a terrible opening weekend.

After making $21.5 million on Friday (including those previews), The Marvels was estimated to make $47 million in 4,030 theaters, although early projections have the actual number to even lower, closer to $46.1 million. Overseas, the movie made $63.3 million for a global opening of $110.3 million, also not great for a Marvel Studios debut.

Not only is this the worst opening for a Marvel Cinematic Universe release ever, even lower than the $57.2 million opening for Ant-Man in 2015, but it’s an absolute disaster considering the cost of the sequel (reportedly over $250 million), a budget that made sense considering the blockbuster that was Captain Marvel.

Rather than dwelling on the reasons why Marvel fans didn’t rush out to see The Marvels in the same way as they did other movies from Marvel Studios, we have to mention how bad things are looking for the once-great studio that holds the box office opening record with over $350 million for Avengers: Infinity War.

Even before The Marvels opened, Marvel Studios began reshuffling its 2024 release plans, leaving only Deadpool 3 to open on July 26, 2024. Captain America: Brave New World, starring Anthony Mackie, was shuffled back to Feb. 14, 2025 with word of massive reshoots needing to be done now that the actors were working again. Thunderbolts would now open on July 25, 2025 with rumors circulating about that also having problems. A Blade movie, starring Mahershala Ali, is still scheduled for Nov. 7, 2025, but even that sounds iffy at this point. Even so, Marvel has given up its usual summer kick-off early May release slotfor the next two years after having such success there in the past. It also will only have one release in 2024 vs. the two or three a year that Marvel Studios prez Kevin Feige had been aiming for.

Jacob Elordi, Caelee Spaeny in Priscilla (A24)

The only other significant box office stories this weekend were how well prestige films like Sofia Coppola‘s Priscilla and Alexander Payne‘s The Holdovers did as they expanded even further nationwide. Priscilla had already been expanded by A24 into 1,359 theaters on Nov. 3, but it added another 1,002 theaters this past Friday, allowing it to have a negligible 6% drop-off to remain in fourth place with $4.8 million. Payne’s movie, a projected Oscar player, expanded moderately into 778 theaters on Friday and made $3.2 million over the weekend to take sixth place with $4.3 million grossed in North America so far. Presumably, The Holdovers will continue to expand through Thanksgiving and into the December awards season.

Otherwise, the other new wide releases: Sony/Affirm Films‘ biblical musical, Journey to Bethlehem; Yash Raj Films‘ Bollywood action film, Tiger 3; and RLJEfilms‘ holiday genre film, It’s a Wonderful Knife, all failed to make much of a mark. You can see the rest of the numbers below.

If nothing else, at least the actors strike is over and many actors are already on the campaign trail for their Oscar runs, as well as more junkets quickly being cobbled together to keep the rest of the year’s releases from tanking as badly as The Marvels.

Weekend Box Office

Rank Entry Distributor Revenue Theater Count Total Revenue
1 The Marvels Walt Disney $46,100,000 4,030 $46,100,000
2 Five Nights at Freddy’s Universal $9,000,000 3,694 $127,205,000
3 TAYLOR SWIFT | THE ERAS TOUR AMC Theatres Distribution $5,900,000 2,848 $172,546,901
4 Priscilla A24 $4,792,678 2,361 $12,728,840
5 Killers of the Flower Moon Paramount Pictures $4,650,000 3,357 $59,937,000
6 The Holdovers Focus Features $3,200,000 778 $4,274,000
7 Journey to Bethlehem Sony Pictures $2,400,000 2,002 $2,400,000
8 PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie Paramount Pictures $1,760,000 1,779 $64,564,000
9 Tiger 3 Yash Raj Films $1,911,419 775 $1,911,419
10 Radical Pantelion Films $1,752,000 534 $5,209,758


Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg in Breathless (Rialto Pictures/Studio Canal)

Here’s an interesting one for the cinephiles from World of Reel about Richard Linklater‘s next movie, which he’ll begin filming in March, 2024. Linklater is currently in the casting process for a movie based around the French New Wave movement that stirred up cinema in the ’60s, focused on Jean-Luc Godard‘s 1959 classic, Breathless. Some of the characters in the film will include renowned French filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard, Jean Cocteau, Robert Bresson, Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Pierre Melville, Eric Rohmer, and Jacques Rivette. The movie will film in Paris and be entirely in French. (We’re already placing odds on which filmmaker this past weekend’s Saturday Night Live host, Timothée Chalamet, might play.)

It’s another intriguing project from the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind Boyhood, the Before trilogy, and the upcoming Hit Man, starring Glen Powell, which Netflix will release next year. (You can read Abe Friedtanzer‘s review of the latter here.)

Michael J. Fox in Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie (Apple TV+)

Those who regularly watch or follow documentaries might be aware of the Critics Choice Documentary Awards, which held their 8th annual gala at the Edison Ballroom in Times Square, Manhattan with Wyatt Cenac returning as host. As a voting member of the Critics Choice Association‘s documentary branch, I was in attendance to see the proceedings first hand, and four specific movies fared the best with multiple wins that night.

Davis Guggenheim‘s Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, a portrait of the beloved ’80s actor and his travails with Parkinson’s disease was the clear favorite with five wins for Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Biographical Documentary, Best Editing, and Best Narration (written and performed by Fox himself from his memoir). The Jon Batiste doc American Symphony, which hits Netflix later this year, produced by the Obamas’ Higher Ground imprint, received two CCDAs for Best Score (written by Batiste) and Best Music Documentary. The PBS Frontline doc, 20 Days in Mariupol, written and directed by Mstyslav Chernov received two awards for Best Political Documentary and Best First Documentary Feature with Editor Michelle Mizner accepting for the absent filmmaker. Another Netflix doc, Laura McGann‘s The Deepest Breath, about Italian free diver Alessia Zecchini, won two awards for Best Sports Documentary and Best Cinematography for DP Tim Cragg.

We’ll wrap up today’s installment with the first trailer for Zack Snyder‘s two-part outer space epic, Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire, which will be released by Netflix on December 22 with Part Two: The Scargiver hitting the streamer on April 19, 2024. We’ll probably be back on Wednesday (hopefully) with another Must Reads.

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.


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