The Marvels Taps Out as Lowest-Grossing MCU Movie at Box Office

After opening to a franchise-low $46.1 million in November, The Marvels has ended its eight-week run in theaters as the lowest-grossing MCU movie. Disney stopped reporting global grosses on the Marvel Studios misfire last month, issuing a note to press that The Marvels‘ box office was “winding down” (as of December 3, it took in $80 million in North America and $197 million globally). According to Exhibitor Relations Co., Captain Marvel 2 is officially tapping out at the box office with $84.5 million domestically and $121.3 million internationally for a global total of $205.8 million worldwide.

That’s the worst showing for Disney’s Marvel Studios and, the box office tracker notes, nearly identical to DC’s Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (which finished with $84.1 million domestic, $205.3 million worldwide in 2020). By the time Disney stopped reporting figures on The Marvels, it had fallen to 11th place on box office charts after four weeks in theaters; three weeks later, its theater count dropped from 4,030 to just 160 screens before the new year.

The Marvels is estimated to have a production budget of “$220 million-plus,” making it an expensive bomb for the Kevin Feige-led studio that has had a steady stream of hits since Iron Man in 2008. (The Incredible Hulk was previously the franchise’s lowest earner at $264 million worldwide.) Even Eternals, an untested commodity with audiences, managed $401 million despite the pandemic-stricken box office , a low “B” Cinemascore, and the first “rotten” rating for an MCU movie on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s a disappointing performance for any franchise entry, let alone the sequel to a movie that earned $1.12 billion at the global box office in 2019. In November, Disney CEO Bob Iger blamed The Marvels bombing on a lack of executive oversight and the restrictions of making a movie during a pandemic.

The Marvels was shot during COVID,” Iger said during a panel at The New York Times‘ DealBook Summit. “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.”

After Disney’s centennial was marred by a string of underperformers (Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, The Little Mermaid), flops (Haunted Mansion, The Creator), and bombs (Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, The Marvels), Iger said that the company would move forward with a greater focus on quality over quantity.

“I’ve talked about [Disney’s box office performance] a lot recently, because in assessing some of our performance, recently, one of the reasons I believe it’s fallen off a bit is that we were making too much. I think when it comes to creativity, quality is critical, of course, and quantity in many ways can destroy quality. Storytelling, obviously, is the core of what we do as a company,” Iger said during a Disney town hall in November. “I spent the year with the team fixing a lot of things. But I feel that we’ve just emerged from a period of a lot of fixing to one of building again — and I can tell you, building is a lot more fun than fixing.”

The Marvels stars Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Samuel L. Jackson, Zawe Ashton, and Park Seo-joon.