IS ETERNALS A HIT OR A MISS FOR MARVEL STUDIOS?
By Matt Chieco
When Eternals was first announced at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con people were not really familiar with the comics it was going to be based on, but over the last two years it has become one of the most anticipated movies for Phase 4 and 2021. Yet as the movie hits theaters this weekend a new topic has surrounded Chloé Zhao’s Marvel debut.
The 26th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is now facing mixed reviews from critics. It currently has a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest and only rotten score for a Marvel Studios film. While some critics say a not very interesting story is to blame for the bad reviews, others say the lack of Marvel DNA is very refreshing to see. But will the Rotten Tomatoes score hurt the movies box office numbers? and will going in with low expectations help the movie?
Eternals made a little under $10 million in previews (the third best during the pandemic) and is slated to make around $75 million+ opening weekend, but as we’ve seen over the last few months studio projections have been off. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was predicted to make around $45 to $50 million its opening weekend, but made a whopping $94 million over the Labor Day four day weekend. Even Venom: Let There Be Carnage was predicted to only make $60 million, yet as we all know the movie went on to make $90 million and set the record for the highest three day opening weekend during the pandemic.
Determining if Eternals will be a big hit or an even bigger flop hinges on how many movie theater seats are filled. Fandango is reporting that the blockbuster is now the second best preseller among this year’s advance ticket sales, only behind Black Widow. The movie even has a strong showing overseas and is tracking strong with males, Hispanics, African Americans and Asian audiences due to the impressive representation shown in the movie.
Now while the reviews might keep people away, the opposite just may occur. In stark contrast to the rotten critics score, Eternals currently has a 86% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and when the critics and the audiences are divided people tend to see the movie just to see who is right. The saying “any press is good press” is ringing very true here. The more people who read all of the headlines, the more tickets are bought to see who is right, causing the box office numbers to rise.
The original projections were around $80 million, but because of the reviews the studio have since lowered those projections. In my personal opinion I think the studio may have reacted too quickly, but by the end of the weekend we all will know the answer.
Marvel Studios’ Eternals is now in theaters.