There is no such thing as “Marvel fatigue;” goddamn, nobody’s in Love Again; and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
OK, time to be the adult in the room again. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 is your #1 movie in the world this weekend, obviously. It is one of only two films in the US to make more than $10 million this weekend, obviously. It has already made its reported production budget back worldwide, obviously. Now, that said, the opening weekend take in the US for James Gunn’s big Marvel swan-song, at press time, was $118 million. That’s more than the $94.3 million that the original Guardians made in 2014, but less than the $146.5 million that Guardians vol. 2 made on this exact same weekend in 2017; sat right in between those two particular poles. It’s also not a whole lot more than Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania pulled in on its opening weekend three months ago with significantly worse critical and audience word-of-mouth. It’s a really, really, really good opening weekend… but it’s nowhere near the best opening weekend of the year (hello Mario) and marks the third straight superhero film of 2023 to “underperform” to some nebulous degree.
Therefore, a lot of people who fail to understand industry and box office cycles, bad faith actors drumming up Culture War clicks, and idiots will now be spewing out “Marvel WASHED!!” “SUPERHERO FATIGUE!!!” and other such long exhausted takes in relation to this news. And, look, I’m beyond tired of this debate, folks. I really am. I’ve been over all permutations of this “fetch” that industry gossipers are determined to make happen, in defiance of both film history and literal reality, since 2015 when Age of Ultron came in under the opening of the original Avengers and everyone assumed that meant Marvel were in real trouble. As Richard Newby so succinctly put it on Twitter: a Doctor Strange sequel made almost a billion dollars. A mixed Thor sequel almost grossed the same as the beloved Ragnarok without the aid of the Chinese market; true of most post-Endgame releases. A mournful Black Panther sequel – which, incidentally, got better review scores than Guardians vol. 3, so any “the MCU is BACK from being shit!” narrative should really take that into account – without its franchise face made $800 million. Even Quantumania has pulled in just under half-a-billion.
These movies are doing fine. They are likely going to continue to do fine. If anything – again, cribbing from Richard Newby since we are on the exact same wavelength and he just words shit way better than I – we’re merely settling back into Marvel Phase 2-level box office takings. Expecting things to stay as stupendously high as in Phase 3’s back-half, where we seemed to be breaking records every single time a new release came along, was frankly a fool’s errand. The hype leading up to Endgame was once-in-a-generation, near impossible to repeat even if we didn’t have a global pandemic that came along to decimate the theatrical landscape and ingrained habits (plus finances since cost-of-living all around the world right now is bad) of moviegoers. Things were inevitably going to reset, both in terms of narrative with more scattered movies (though sadly not always self-contained ones which may be a genuine problem) and in terms of finance with slightly lower general audience interest.
Marvel may have diluted their brand a tad by shunting out nine movies and eight TV shows in the space of just two years, with questionable quality, but they are still reliably one of the very biggest earners in the movie industry. All three of their films last year were comfortably in the Top 10 worldwide. I know studio execs who would murder their entire families if it meant they could have films which almost always pull in a total of $500 million each. To say anything to the degree of “superhero fatigue” or “Marvel fatigue” or whatever the fuck is to actively deny reality. These movies are doing fine. Superhero movies are doing fine (though they could stand to relax their budgets a bit). Please stop with this. It makes me feel real icky having to come to the defence of the mega-corp, in addition to just being so fucking tired of this exact same false narrative arriving with every single fucking release.
There is no Full List, THAT’S WHY I STEPPED IN!
US Box Office Results: Friday 5th May 2023 – Sunday 7th May 2023
1] Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3
$118,400,000 / NEW
Anyways, this was a near-masterpiece. I honestly don’t think James Gunn could miss right now even if he tried to. Spent all 150 minutes of this thing either beaming with joy or crying my eyes out. It’s a beautiful send-off.
2] The Super Mario Bros. Movie
$18,600,000 / $518,127,705
Of all the things I imagined that a Gran Turismo movie would turn out, I really should’ve put money on it being a literal nine-figure advertisement. Like, I know that this is based on a true story from the Gran Turismo Academy, but there’s also no way to tell that without it coming off like a hyper-expensive advert for the game! Hollywood going for the land-speed record of building up the credibility of video game adaptations to then knock them back down again.
3] Evil Dead Rise
$5,730,000 / $54,101,490
If you’re in the mood for a much more experimental kind of horror film, Mark Jenkin’s acclaimed Cornish take on the genre, Enys Men, is now available on home media. Charlie Brigden couldn’t stop raving about it.
4] Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
$3,380,000 / $12,647,414
Hopefully catching an early screening of this on Wednesday, so shall report back next week. In the meantime, you should watch The Edge of Seventeen if you’re yet to. Or if it’s been a while since you have. Or even if you only just watched it yesterday. There’s never a bad time to watch one of the 2010s best films!
$2,359,000 / $180,056,266
Finally watched Wick one too many times and need to get your action fix from elsewhere? Paul Regan heartily recommends the recently-released Studiocanal restorations of The Three (and later Four) Musketeers movies by Richard Lester!
6] Love Again
$2,185,000 / NEW
Oh, right. Sorry. In all my Marvel DISCOURSE rant fixation, I’d forgotten about this tepidly-reviewed rom-com that Screen Gems adorably thought could work as successful counter-programming in spite of it being arse. Everybody should’ve watched Rye Lane instead, and that includes you.
7] Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
$1,515,000 / $92,045,000
Lotta anniversary pieces coming along this month, several of which function as subliminal messaging for me to start applying for an OAP card. Kicking off the lookback jamboree, Amy “Magneto Was Right” Walker took on what’s still widely-considered the current benchmark for group X-Men movies, X2.
$1,396,169 / $50,246,910
Solid. That’s all I gotta say. It’s a solid drama.
9] Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant
$1,222,129 / $14,779,681
For those curious: yes, this has outgrossed Operation Fortune domestically by more than double that prior Ritchie movie. Don’t call it a comeback! No, seriously, don’t call it a comeback.
$1,083,000 / $5,548,199
Solidarity with the striking members of the Writers Guild of America. Take the industry to the fucking cleaners.
Dropped out: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Ponniyin Selvan: Part Two
Callie Petch wants to hate you half as much as they hate themselves.