NEW YORK — “Eternals,” one of Marvel’s most ambitious efforts to expand its superhero universe, hit theaters over the weekend with ticket sales of about $71 million, according to studio estimates.
By most studios’ box-office standards, the opening was encouraging. Only three other films have had a better start during the pandemic: “Black Widow” ($80.3 million), “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” ($75.3 million) and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” ( $90 million). But for Marvel’s well-oiled blockbuster machine, the “Eternal” launch in some ways constituted a bump in the road in a unique 26-film streak.
Over the weekend, the forecast was a little over $75 million domestically. More concerning for The Walt Disney Company was the mixed audience reaction to Chloe Zhao’s 157-minute film about the immortal race of superheroes. It is the first film in the Marvel “cinematic universe” to rank “Rotten” in Rotten Tomatoes’ overall critic score, with only 47% of reviews rated as positive. Audiences gave it a lower grade – “B” CinemaScore – than any previous MCU entry.
But from the start, “Eternal” was a less charted direction for Marvel. By enlisting Zhao, whose “Nomadland” won Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards earlier this year, Comic-Book Factory embodies an acclaimed filmmaker with more arthouse realism than computer-generated spectacle. The story also introduces a lesser-known alien class of superheroes whose existence spans the entire human history. With a diverse cast including Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, and Kumail Nanjiani, “Eternal” brought several introductions — including the MCU’s first deaf superhero and first superhero sex scene in Lauren Ridloff — that had not been tried before in the franchise. .
David A. Gross, who runs movie consultancy franchise Entertainment Research, estimated that the negative reception to “Eternal” cost 10% at the box office. He still sees superhero movies as a recovery for theatres. Marvel movies account for the top four openings of the pandemic.
“‘Eternal’ is not a problem,” Gross said in an email. “The film isn’t adding up the way every other Marvel film, but the box-office performance is solid and maintains the level of October business.”
“Eternal”, which cost approximately $200 million to produce, opened strongly overseas, grossing $90.7 million in 46 international territories. However, the film did not open in China and is not expected to release in the future, despite being directed by a Chinese-born filmmaker. The previous Marvel release, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” the studio’s first Asian superhero film, also hasn’t received permission to open in China.
The reasons for the refusal are unclear, but China heavily censors the films it approves for release. US-China relations have become more tense in recent years. It has also been widely noted that Zhao said in a 2013 interview that China is “where lies everywhere.” In April, her Oscar win was not reported by Chinese state media outlets and her mention was taken off the Internet in China.
The other major new release of the weekend was “Spencer,” which starred Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana. The acclaimed play, for which Stewart is expected to receive her first Oscar nomination, launched in 996 locations and grossed $2.1 million for Neon.
The remainder of the weekend’s top draws were holdovers.
In its third weekend of release, Denis Villeneuve’s science-fiction epic “Dune” took in $7.6 million for a total of $83.9 million. Warner Bros., which has announced the sequel to ‘Doon’, released the film simultaneously on HBO Max.
MGM and United Artists Releasing’s James Bond entry “No Time to Die” grossed $6.1 million in its fifth weekend of release, bringing its domestic sales to $143.2 million. “No Time to Die” will be released Tuesday on video-on-demand for $20 rental after 31 days in theaters—much shorter than most Bond movies before it becomes available at home. .
top 10 box office movies
According to comScore, estimated ticket sales in theaters in the US and Canada last Friday through Sunday.
1. “Eternal, “$71 million
2. “Dune, “$7.6 million
3. “no time to die, “$6.2 million
4. “Venom: Let There Be Massacre, “$4.5 million”
5. “ron got it wrong, “$3.6 million
6. “french dispatch, “$2.6 million
7. “halloween kills, “$2.4 million”
8. “wig, “$2.1 million
9. “Horn,” $2 million
10. “last night in soho, “$1.8 million