MarvelBlog News for November 8th, 2021
Eternals has just experienced substantial upheaval, but it’s still torn up the box office. It’s obviously the focus of the latest MarvelBlog News.
The Highs and Lows of the Eternals
Generally, when Marvel movies come out, the studio basks in adulation as critics and fans alike praise the projects.
For 18 months, Disney and Marvel alike have anticipated the moment when their crown jewel, Eternals garnered such acclaim.
Film executives have eyed awards consideration since the spring of 2020 (!) because they believe in this project so much.
That’s the funny thing about life. Things never quite work out the way people expect.
For the past several weeks, Eternals has unwillingly surfed wave after wave of controversy.
After director Chloé Zhao’s comments about China went public, Disney officials realized that Eternals would never gain theatrical release there.
China has evolved into one of the most essential markets, but Eternals never even had a chance here.
Somehow, that’s not even the worst news. Several Middle Eastern countries took exception to the film’s portrayal of same-sex relationships, among other things.
So, Eternals also got banned in several countries including Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
While these countries aren’t exactly bastions of Hollywood box office, this latest news leads to more negative headlines for a struggling production.
On top of that, critical reviews of Eternals took a turn since the last time we spoke. Last time, the film was barely Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Now, Eternals has fallen under 50 percent on the Tomatometer, meaning more critics dislike it than give it a thumbs up.
This turn of events is unprecedented in the MCU and isn’t even the minority opinion. Eternals scored a lousy B Cinemascore from opening night audiences.
As a reminder, anything under B+ is terrible under this scoring system.
In a shocking turn of events, Eternals is a huge disappointment for Marvel.
What about the Box Office?
Eternals did what everyone expected. It dominated the global box office this weekend despite all the obstacles the film faced.
In North America, Eternals opened to an estimated $71 million. That’s good enough to top the box office charts by…$63 million.
So, yeah, it’s a juggernaut compared to everything else in release right now. Still, Disney and Marvel would privately admit disappointment here.
Eternals fails to match the opening weekend performances of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings or Black Widow.
Unexpectedly, Sony will probably end 2021 with the two best opening weekends. Venom: Let There Be Carnage currently reigns at the top.
Next month, Spider-Man: No Way Home will almost certainly top it…although I would have (may have?) said the same thing about Eternals last month.
Anyway, Eternals will stand as the fourth biggest domestic opening of 2021 until the new Spider-Man debuts.
However, this MCU is also only the fourth most successful Marvel release of the year, at least domestically.
Globally, the news shines much brighter. Eternals somehow exceeded expectations with an estimated $161.7 million.
Disney had indicated it’d be happy with $150 million for Eternals. The international casting undoubtedly helped here.
Still, with several markets boycotting Eternals, the film will struggle to match expectations.
The divisive word of mouth will play against its ability to enjoy an extended theatrical run.
Also, I’ll point out that Eternals comes with a 45-day exclusive theatrical window.
I’ll spare you the trouble of looking at a calendar. Disney could sell this title on digital on December 22nd…or it could be a surprise Christmas release on Disney+.
Obviously, we’ll continue to track this story at MarvelBlog, but the early results have proven frustrating.
Wakanda Forever Shuts Down
Sometimes, when you’re reporting a story, you can tell that somebody’s lying, but you don’t have the evidence to call them on it.
I mention this as I inform you that production has ended on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever for 2021.
No, the film hasn’t finished filming yet. Instead, Marvel has delayed the completion of principal photography.
As you might have guessed, the reason why involves previous injuries to Letitia Wright.
The actress suffered undisclosed injuries during filming in late-August. At the time, the project’s publicists indicated her wounds were minor.
Later, word leaked that Wright had flown back to England for treatment, which doesn’t happen for minor injuries.
The Black Panther sequel has filmed for the body of two months. However, production has reached a point where it needs the star back on the set.
Since Wright’s not healthy enough to do that yet, Marvel has shut down production until the first quarter of 2022.
As a reminder, Disney recently delayed Wakanda Forever until November 11th, 2022.
Should Wright not be healthy in another two months, Disney may have to push back that release date again.
Finally, I don’t want to be alarmist here, but there’s a chance that we haven’t heard the last of this story.
Wright recently extended her MCU contract for several future appearances.
However, a similar situation has caused Ruby Rose and the producers of Batwoman to engage in a vicious war of words.
Marvel’s relationship with Wright could take a turn.
With all the Eternals stories, you may have forgotten that Hawkeye lurks just around the corner.
The next Disney+ series debuts in two weeks and two days. So, co-star Jeremy Renner has started doing publicity for the project.
During a recent interview, Renner confessed that he wanted to play a much darker version of Clint Barton.
Given the events of Avengers: Endgame, that’s somewhat unsettling to consider.
However, Marvel apparently went a different way entirely by making a series with a Christmas backdrop.
Early trailers have played up the unmistakable Die Hard homage, although it’s still too early to say how accurate those commercials are. It could be a swerve.
In other box office news, Venom: Let There Be Carnage continues to excel at the box office, at least by pandemic standards.
The film recently crossed $400 million in global box office and currently sits at $424.6 million.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man: No Way Home has faced some of the same struggles as Eternals. No, I don’t mean the reviews.
I’m referencing the struggles in international marketplaces. The latest Spider-Man movie just confirmed a release date delay in The Philippines.
Other markets remain in flux due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.
As of right now, most markets have planned theatrical release on December 17th. However, a local outbreak could delay the film’s release.
I have friends in The Philippines, one of whom is a doctor. She has indicated it’s really bad there. So, this isn’t a surprise.
If other countries follow suit, the timing of No Way’s Home release could turn into a mess. I think that’s only a remote possibility…but who really knows?
Finally, here’s video of a clearly nervous Will Poulter uncomfortably discussing his character, Adam Warlock, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.:
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