The final moments of “Avengers: Endgame” were intended to be a girl-power nod, but it was received as cringe-worthy by some. As a result, it’s been widely regarded that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been on a downward trend. The once box office-breaking films like “Black Widow,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and “Eternals” have seen a decrease in ticket sales compared to past MCU releases. This has sparked a conversation about the future of the franchise and whether or not it has lost its edge.
There have been reports that Marvel is considering bringing back the original Avengers cast and reshaping the landscape of future films. Additionally, the conversation surrounding a female-led “Blade” movie has also sparked a debate about the direction of the MCU. Kevin Feige and Bob Iger are now claiming that they have been misled and are looking to scale back the progressive direction that the franchise has been moving towards.
There is concern that the franchise has been focusing more on woke storytelling than creating successful films. With the exception of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. III”, recent releases have not lived up to expectations. This has led to gloomy box office forecasts for “The Marvels”, with experts predicting the film to make anywhere from $45 to $75 million. This is a substantial decrease from the MCU glory days and a big step down from what “Captain Marvel” made in 2018 – $156 million in its opening weekend.
Disney, who owns the MCU, is taking action to reverse the negative buzz surrounding “The Marvels”. The film features a trio of female heroes, led by Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, but the recent trailer release includes appearances from Iron Man and Captain America. The decision to feature the male Avengers in the trailer is an attempt to reconnect with the classic MCU tales and lure audiences back to the theater.
Leading up to the trailer release, the marketing message behind “The Marvels” focused on the three female heroes, whose appeal was somewhat limited. Larson’s Captain Marvel has been criticized for lacking the charisma of her male counterparts, and related Disney+ series such as “Ms. Marvel” and “WandaVision” have received mixed reviews from fans and critics. Teyonah Parris completes the trio of heroes in the film but lacks the same level of name recognition as other popular MCU characters.
The pressure is on for Marvel and Disney, and it’s evident that even a progressive company like Marvel realizes that fans are nostalgic for the days when Iron Man and Captain America led the charge against villains like Loki and Thanos. The question remains whether audiences will be drawn to “The Marvels” this weekend and whether the classic MCU magic will be enough to entice viewers back to the theater.
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