Can Marvel maintain its dominance over the box-office with continuing MCU Phase 4 movie delays?
To imagine going to the theatres without a single MCU movie that is either playing or upcoming seems impossible now. This has been the case for the last 12 years. However, sustained dominance is not that easy. And while Marvel has held up for quite long, whether it will be able to do so in the future is a question worth asking. The present pandemic and lockdown situation has adversely affected movie-going. Moreover, there is a possibility of audience fatigue and over-saturating content, that is usually associated with such longevity. In 2021, Marvel is bringing MCU Phase 4 via big and small screen. It will include Black Widow, an untitled Spider-Man 3, Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Along with Disney+ series WandaVision, Falcon & The Winter Soldier, Loki, What if…? and Hawkeye.
Marvel and Its Box-Office Numbers
On average, an MCU movie earns approx. $135 million in its opening weekend, approx. $370 million domestic and more than $980 million worldwide. So far, this has been the case across its 23 movies. Furthermore, these numbers did go askew a bit by the mammoth total of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. But the bottom-line remains the same: Marvel movies make a lot of money.
Watch: Marvel MCU Phase 4: New Release Dates and Movies
Black Widow, Doctor Strange, and Thor are sure to bring Marvel fans to theatres coming 2021. However, Eternals is a whole new ball-game. The reason is that Eternals will deal with family drama, and we all know what went down with Inhumans Tv series. Inhumans showed a royal family of ancient powerful beings taking refuge on Earth. Fans might be able to connect this to Eternals that also shows a race of immortal beings who lived on planet Earth. On the other hand, we also have Guardians of the Galaxy that did manage to charm us all. So, there is a 50-50 per cent chance.
Next up, we have Shang-Chi, a new character that Marvel will introduce in 2021. With this one, the stakes are smaller. From the box-office perspective, it will appeal to the Chinese audience for the fact that it features popular Chinese actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai as The Mandarin. Moreover, Shang-Chi is a character that is earth-bound and will be more relatable.
MCU Phase 4 Movies and Series Projections
Senior Box Office Analyst, Exhibitor Relations, Jeff Bock, tells Observer that the film industry has reached the stage where ‘if a film earns less than $1 billion, it is a failure commercially.’ And even if a Marvel film fails to achieve this target in 2021, it won’t incur a financial loss as such.
According to Bock, Marvel has always done a great job when taking from the script to the screen, and it is unlikely that it will be otherwise in 2021. “If we talk about each movie separately, it may be that some will earn less than the others. If we take Phase 4 as a whole, not grossing among the top 10 films of the year will be a rarity.”
They are like Pixar—pretty much infallible.Jeff Bock
However, on the other hand, Marvel Studios’ owner Disney has suffered the loss of their parks shutting down due to Coronavirus. Further, Disney Studio bagged $13 billion at the 2019 worldwide box office thanks to Avengers: Endgame which alone earned over $2 billion worldwide. In the latest Disney’s Investors Meet suggestions were made by Dan Loeb about alternate release method for Black Widow. He told Variety,
I don’t think they (Disney) appreciate the tiger they have by the tail, which is to say the value they can drive by moving into a subscription model, which has been adopted by everyone from Microsoft to Amazon. It’s so value accretive.
Disney has certainly made adjustments in its new plan by fore fronting its streaming platform. While, MCU Phase 4 consist of both movies and Disney+ series, Black Widow is still waiting for a theatrical release and WandaVision will officially start the new phase.