MarvelBlog News for July 11th, 2022
Folks, Echo just turned into a must-watch television program on Disney+. I’ll explain this, discuss Thor: Love & Thunder’s box office, and talk about the impending rise of Elaine Benes in the latest MarvelBlog News.
Thor: Love and Thunder Opens…Fine
Unfortunately, this MarvelBlog News is starting on kind of a downer note here. Sometimes, something sounds like a win when it’s really not. For example, Thor: Love and Thunder entered theaters this weekend to massive expectations.
After all, Minions: The Rise of Gru just destroyed box office records last weekend. Obviously, the movie industry has recovered at least somewhat from the pandemic. For this reason, expectations were high for the debut of Thor 4. Somehow, it fell short of its projected box office totals, though.
Entering the week, tracking data suggested an opening of at least $170 million. Some forecasts called for $200+ million. Those…look silly now. Throughout the weekend, the latest Thor movie has consistently disappointed.
The movie earned $29 million in the Thursday box office, much of which stemmed from presales. That’s a solid number…but less than the industry had predicted. As usual, Disney rolled Thursday’s revenue into Friday’s numbers, giving Thor 4 a one-day domestic total of $69.5 million.
Thor Is No Doctor Strange
Here’s where things get awkward for MarvelBlog News. Nobody would describe Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as a staggering success, merely a solid Marvel performer.
Well, that film grossed $36 million on Thursday and $90.7 million in total on Friday. So, the latest Thor movie fell far behind the Doctor Strange sequel across the board. For the weekend, Love and Thunder earned $143 million domestically and $302 million worldwide.
Once again, Dr. Strange 2 crushed it with $187.4 million and $450 million. Perhaps that’s to be expected since Multiverse of Madness sold itself as a follow-up to the revered WandaVision as well as the original Doctor Strange.
Still, MarvelBlog News suspect Disney officials are feeling frustrated by this turn of events. That’s a $148 million drop in global opening weekend box office in two months. It’s hard to sell that as a win.
Thor: Love and Thunder did earn a 68 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but its B+ Cinemascore indicates an average movie. We will track this story more next week, but Thor 4 looks like another MCU misfire. Has viewer malaise set in?
Last month, Marvel officially confirmed the Daredevil series reboot coming to Disney+. We’d thought this would happen for a while, as rumors started as early as 2019. However, talks escalated during the pandemic and reached a crescendo at the end of 2021.
That’s when actor Charlie Cox appeared as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home. His presence posed a fascinating question for MCU fans. Is that the same Murdock that we watched in the Daredevil series on Netflix? Marvel executives would answer no…but with a wink of their eyes.
The whole notion of canon grows murky now that the MCU has expanded into the multiverse. Apparently, the Netflix characters aren’t the same as the ones we’ll watch in the MCU, fittingly identified as Earth-616.
Hawkeye viewers already appreciate the significance of that statement, as the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, played a part in that Disney+ series. So, we’ve already had Murdock appear in a movie that technically occurs in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe…but that Peter Parker has also been in the MCU.
As I said, everything gets muddy when we have these conversations, and it’ll only get worse in 2023. That’s when Echo gains her own Disney+ series. We’ve already watched this character defeat her mentor, Kingpin, in battle and perhaps leave him for dead.
Well, I guess she should have stuck a wooden stake in his heart because Fisk isn’t dead. Instead, Marvel has acknowledged that Vincent D’Onofrio will appear in Echo as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin. And that’s even the best part!
Cox will also return in the role of Matt Murdock/Daredevil, the mortal enemy of Kingpin. The two actors clearly adore one another and have barely contained their euphoria over this opportunity to return to these roles. Somehow, that’s STILL not the best part, though.
Remember That Hair Salon Story?
In early March, MavelBlog News posted a Krysten Ritter hair salon story. The whole thing may have seemed trivial to outsiders, but I knew it wasn’t. Ritter had already agreed to return to Marvel as her iconic character, Jessica Jones.
The actress finished filming one project and immediately got her hair done in the appropriate Jessica Jones style. When the salon stylist posted the picture, I found it odd that Marvel didn’t request the post’s removal. It was like an acknowledgment that they weren’t hiding this fact.
Today, we know why, as Jones will also factor into the Echo storyline. In fact, Disney has intentionally built up the intrigue a bit. The next time you pull up Disney+, do a search for Jessica Jones. You’ll notice that the title has changed slightly.
Splash screens show as A.K.A. Jessica Jones, which may explain some stuff for folks who always wondered about the episode titles. Every episode of Jessica Jones starts with A.K.A., which reflects that the show was originally named A.K.A. Jessica Jones.
Netflix shortened the title to Jessica Jones after it acquired the project in turnaround. Marvel had produced the show in anticipation of a pick-up on ABC but failed multiple times to convince their T.V. executives of its value.
In fact, ABC understood the series so little that a network note requested a change to Carol Danvers as the lead character…in a series about Jessica Jones. ABC’s idiotic mistake turned into Netflix’s gain, as Jessica Jones because one of the streaming service’s most iconic and accredited early hits.
Since Netflix split with Marvel, Ritter has often expressed a desire to return to the role…and now she will! Echo is apparently the next place for Jessica Jones, although she feasibly may pop up in the MCU even sooner.
The New Nick Fury?
MarvelBlog News just received an update about an ascending MCU player from an unlikely source. Marvel just released Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: The Art of the Series, a coffee table book with a brief entry regarding Countessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine.
That’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character, the one who has appeared in Black Widow and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Notably, the book describes the Contessa as follows:
“The Countess Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is a character that has a rich publication history… and to some degree, figuring out who can fill those shoes, which in our mind is in a way taking the reins from Nick Fury, was tough.
But when we thought of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, there was fun energy to her that immediately you realize this person has a weight and gravity, but they’re not the same as Nick Fury. It’s a completely different energy.
Yes, you’re reading that right. The MCU has planned something of a passing of the torch from Samuel L. Jackson to the former Seinfeld actress. Obviously, Jackson’s character, Nick Fury, will remain an integral part of the MCU. If anything, Valentina could prove his foe rather than his replacement.
However, few people in Hollywood today claim the resume of Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She’s a logical choice to play a vital role in the MCU as Jackson gets older. He’s already 73, you know.