Black Panther: Wakanda Forever crushing the ticket competition came as no surprise. However, it experienced the now typical dropout rate of post-pandemic Marvel Studios films. Are the revenues for these Marvel Studios movies also affected by how Disney+ has changed the way fans engage with these stories?
Wakanda foreverThe second weekend continued to dominate the box office, but it earned 60 percent less compared to its debut. This happened to every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie in the last two years. The first Black panther the film also fell, but by only 40 percent. Also, the November release window is increasingly favorable for comics fare, with Joker on the top. Nonetheless, global box office sales are still nowhere near the record highs of 2018 or 2019. The MCU is bringing fans out, it’s just not keeping them coming back like before. Maybe they’re at home watching Disney+. The quick turnaround for these movies from theaters to Disney+ makes the wait to watch worth it Wakanda forever again a little more tolerable.
New Marvel Studios releases are less “special” than they used to be
Even with its impossibly fast production speed, Marvel Studios released a maximum of three films per calendar year. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, the studio dropped three titles per year. All of these releases came within six months of the former, sometimes less. The only exception was the seven months in between Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel. The big screen releases are back to that level of frequency. However, now the Disney+ projects are too. It’s Marvel Studios Specials, shorter feature films. And the TV series are of movie quality and at least twice as many story fans in the movies.
Shows aside, one reason people watch MCU movies over and over again is to catch Easter eggs and investigate theories. But fans can watch the movies, and to really dissect them, they can only wait two months for it to appear on the streamer. Not only that, they can pause and rewind to their heart’s content. Instead of seeing Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 10 times in theaters, fans will go a few times and then wait a few weeks for it to premiere on Disney+.
Disney+ is also the first place to bring together all the MCU movies and series in one place. Even canon-adjacent Netflix shows, Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD. is “up there” next to the big screen Avengers. Stories old and new make Disney+ feel like the front row to Marvel Studios more than the movie house.
Marvel Studios’ films are a top shared cinema experience
As much as renowned directors such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino criticize Marvel Studios’ offerings, they are prime examples of the importance of theatre. Iconic moments like the “Portals” scene in Final game or the introduction of Spider-Men in No way home best shared with a quantity. People cheer, cry and shout at the screen, sharing these emotions with a room full of strangers. Until the launch of Disney+, this was the main way viewers engaged with the MCU.
Thanks to Disney+ and its relentless schedule, the MCU became more of a “home” thing. Since production ramped up after the initial COVID-19 shutdown, Marvel Studios released ten original projects directly to the streamer, not counting Marvel Studios: Overall create functions. Reverse, Wakanda forever is the seventh big screen release. The first, Black Widow, was also released to the streamer at the same time as cinemas. It’s clear that Disney+ is the main focus of Marvel Studios’ attention. That could translate to a less robust box office than it hopes.
Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm have made the streamer a huge success for Disney. Still, Disney+ as the home of the MCU may have changed the way fans engage with the universe. While that’s true, Marvel is still the biggest collective box office in town.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently in theaters and is expected on Disney+ in early 2023.