Marvel Studios is getting ready to come back into the pop culture landscape after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was a box office success and Secret Invasion captivated, well, not many people. But the MCU is back this fall, first with the second season of Loki, out on the night of October 5, and then The Marvels coming out on November 10. The film, which is still hoping to get its main trio to film TikTok videos before the release, received big news this week: China likes them.
Indeed, according to Deadline, the film will be released in the Asian country, the second-largest film market in the world, on the same day as North America. This is not super surprising after the last three Marvel movies released in theaters also came out in that market, but it’s still a relief for Disney nonetheless. However, there’s also an argument to be made that China is not what it used to be. The country, steeped in political turmoil especially since COVID-19 began, hasn’t had a huge Hollywood blockbuster made money actual money there.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was the first post-pandemic Marvel film to be released there (partially because of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder‘s references to same-sex relationships), and it came out in February 2023. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania followed suit a few days after, and then Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. But the grosses aren’t really there: Wakanda Forever grossed $15M (granted, it was months after the North American release and it’d probably been pirated to the teeth by that point), but Quantumania made $39M, and Guardians only got to $87M.
So yeah, even though Captain Marvel was able to gross $154M in China back in 2019, there’s not enough evidence to suggest that the Asian country will bring a huge contribution to the worldwide numbers for The Marvels. The first Black Panther, for instance, made $105M, which means an 86% drop for the sequel. And even if you take out that case because of how long it took to come out, Ant-Man and the Wasp grossed $121M in China back in 2018, which meant Quantumania had a 68% drop.
You can also attribute that to poor critical reception of the threequel, but 1) when has China cared about that? and 2) there’s also no guarantee at this point that The Marvels will be well-received. Despite that, it’s a good move for Disney to have secured this release because you never know what’s gonna happen in the Chinese market.
Also out in China this summer was Fast X, which grossed a respectable $139M there, but down from Fast 9‘s mid-pandemic $217M and nowhere near The Fate of the Furious‘ $392M back in 2017. The only blockbuster to have received real help from China this summer was The Meg 2, which made $119M there over the $394M it made worldwide — the number is even comparable to its predecessor’s $153M back in 2018. The bottom line is more killer giant shark movies for the Chinese, even if the rest of the world isn’t even that much into them.
The Marvels Heads Into Final Month Before Release
We’re now mere weeks away from the release of Nia DaCosta’s film, which brings back Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, joined this time by Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau/Photon, and Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel. The film was recently given a PG-13 rating for “action/violence and brief language”, a description they probably copy-pasted from every single Marvel movie that came before.
But because of the ongoing strike, there’s been some hesitation about the release date and whether or not Disney would stick to it. There were a lot of rumors in late August that past Labor Day weekend, with no end in sight for either labor strike in Hollywood, all studios would be announcing massive delays on their fall schedules. That never happened; quite the opposite, in fact. September has been filled with first or new trailers for all major fall releases, from Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom to the new Hunger Games prequel; The Marvels also revealed a few behind-the-scenes snippets even if it held off on a new trailer.
And even then, there were more questions on the table. With Dune: Part Two out of the November equation, should Marvel push their latest film up a week so they can have more IMAX screens for themselves before Hunger Games comes into town? They surely would have liked it, but the October fight for premium formats became a massive bloodbath. Not only did Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon announce they would be getting IMAX screens, but Taylor Swift also stepped foot in the room. And if we’ve learned something over the past year is that you do not mess with the Swifties.
So from where we’re standing, it seems like the plan to release The Marvels on November 10 will stick. Nia DaCosta directed the film from a script by Nia DaCosta, Megan McDonnell, and Elissa Karasik (final credits). The cast includes Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Zawe Ashton, Gary Lewis, Seo-Jun Park, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikh, and Samuel L. Jackson.
What do you think about The Marvels going to China? Do you think it will be able to break the curse of the MCU there from this past year and make significant money? How excited are you for the film? Let us know on social media and stay tuned for more Marvel news!
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