Earlier this month, “The Marvels” debuted in theaters, and the box office posted by the film has led to a much-needed conversation — why does it take so much to make movies these days?
This is not just an issue Marvel and Disney are facing; some critics believe that it is a problem with all of Hollywood. “The Marvels” is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is a sequel to 2019’s “Captain Marvel,” and it opened to a mere $47 million domestically, a value far below expectations.
Internationally, it took in $63.2 million, which means that the movie had a global opening of $110.2 million against a budget reported to be somewhere between $220 million and $250 million — before marketing.
It is not the best news for Marvel Studios and Disney. Of course, a movie that can gross over $100 million in three days is not the best definition of a failure, but it becomes a disappointment compared to the budget used.
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Previously, movie budgets as high as $200 million raised eyebrows and were rare. However, these days, a budget that large has become the norm. It has gotten so bad that a movie like “John Wick: Chapter 4” getting made for $100 million feels like a thrifty production.
“Captain Marvel,” the prequel to “The Marvels,” raked in about $1.12 billion worldwide. So, it is understandable that Marvel Studios didn’t see much harm in a sequel with a big budget.
Unfortunately, “The Marvels” did not rake in the anticipated amount, which was billions. Was this the director’s fault? Hardly. Nia DaCosta did her job well. The real problem is that the MCU, lost in all the sauce, allowed the $200 million budget to become a norm.
According to statistics, no MCU film cost less than $200 million in production since “Spider-Man: Far From Home” ($160 million) in 2019, a Sony Pictures release. As far as Disney is concerned, the last movie made below $200 million was “Captain Marvel.” It cost $175 million to make.
It is clear Disney and Marvel Studios thought the cash would never stop flowing after their successful run in 2018 and 2019. However, the pandemic caused some long-lasting, industry-wide change, so those days are behind us.
The pandemic pushed Hollywood to shut down for many months, pushing the industry towards streaming. Disney+ launched, and with that, Marvel became an anchor for the studio’s streaming arm. Fans also had to deal with several MCU movies in theaters every year. But now there are in-universe shows to keep up with, starting with “WandaVision” in 2021.
The budgeting issue has become a big problem in Hollywood that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Viewers have shown that a superhero movie is now becoming cliche rather than essential viewing.
This is a big problem for Marvel because everything is interlinked. For instance, if a person skips out on “WandaVision,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” makes less sense. Disney needs to solve the budget issue. However, since Marvel Studios is a support structure for the company, a “less is more” approach may be the solution.
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