There’s been quite the buzz surrounding Marvel movies lately, especially after many fans have claimed to be disappointed by the end of Phase Four. Disney’s Marvel franchise is often associated with the world-renowned Avengers film series, including superheroes from an alternative Earth universe known as Earth 616. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has recently entered its Phase Five after a cinematically creative, visually exciting multiverse saga that gave viewers a few popular films: Spider-Man: No Way Home, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Phase Five will include a wide variety of movies that hint at a possible darker turn of events for the franchise, mostly comprising of spin-offs and sequels featuring already established characters. The phase is expected to encompass the next two to three years of Marvel Studios releases.
The most recent Marvel release was The Marvels on Nov. 11, starring Brie Larson as Captain Marvel. It had the lowest opening weekend earnings in Marvel history (it began producing action movies adaptations of the famous Marvel comics in 2008). The Marvels only brought in $110 million globally during its first weekend when it was expected to bring in around $80 million domestically. In comparison, the first Marvel movie release, Iron Man, was the second highest-grossing movie in box office sales for all of 2008, bringing in $318,604,126!
This earning has arguably been a result of Marvel losing touch with its fanbase. The current and last phase of the MCU has lost fans from the very beginning. Fans and media have mentioned most notably the lack of the original cast, actor controversies, confusion within the timeline, and Disney’s decision to push Marvel into television shows. The multiverse, though a streamlined concept, was never really explained in depth, leaving many viewers not only disappointed but also confused.
On the other hand, the widespread criticism hasn’t gone unnoticed by Disney’s Marvel Studios. On CNBC’s Squawk Box, Disney CEO Bob Iger commented on the (at the time) ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike saying that the writer and actors unions going on strike in Hollywood were not being “realistic” with their expectations. It seems that the 148-day workers’ strike had an effect on Marvel’s production and release schedule for the majority of film projects. The anticipated release of The Marvels could’ve been affected, so is it possible that the Hollywood halt is responsible for the film’s financial bust? Or could it be because the actors hired for major roles in the last big films have allegations against them?
Marvel Studios isn’t the same, but why? Marvel has a strong and resilient fan base, and though the past couple of films haven’t been the most popular, the industry may have a chance to recover if it takes the right steps.
If you’re a Marvel fan or mildly curious as to how this franchise will continue its new phase, check out what’s coming out next for shows and movies that are currently in the works, or read a chronological guide on how to watch any of the 33 released Marvel movies!