'Eternals' Falls Short of Box Office Expectations Despite $71 Million Debut

'Eternals,' the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, topped the box office in its opening weekend, but also finished on the low end of expectations.

Cast of Marvel's 'Eternals' during Disney's D23 EXPO 2019.

Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, Angelina Jolie, and Barry Keoghan of 'The Eternals' took part today in the Walt Disney Studios presentation at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019.

Cast of Marvel's 'Eternals' during Disney's D23 EXPO 2019.

Eternals earned $71 million in its debut weekend to finish atop the domestic box office, CNBC reports. That’s the good news. According to IndieWire, the Chloé Zhao-directed film finished about 10 percent below expectations, resulting in questions about the negative response leading up to its release, and the possibility of Marvel fatigue. 

The last MCU film with a lower debut showing was Ant-Man in 2015 ($57.2 million), perThe Hollywood Reporter

Prior to its theatrical release, Eternals became the worst-rated MCU title on Rotten Tomatoes, an unenviable spot previously held by 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. It also received the lowest audience CinemaScore of any entry in the MCU. Early reactions appeared to indicate that Eternals is a departure from the traditional Marvel formula, with Forbes film critic Scott Mendelson suggesting the film “plays like Marvel playing in the DCEU [DC Extended Universe] sandbox.”  

Eternals is the third MCU film to be released in just over four months after the entire slate for Phase 4 was pushed back due to the pandemic. Black Widow made $80 million in its opening weekend, while Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings banked $75 million. Adding to the MCU fatigue narrative is that Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage tallied a surprising $90 million last month. 

Even though the Eternals’ domestic box office has been a cause for concern, the film is performing better than expected internationally, eclipsing $90 million without the help of China and Russia, which has gone through another wave of cinema closures because of the pandemic. 

We’ll see if Marvel can get back track with it’s next movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home. Something tells us they’ll be just fine.

Latest in Pop Culture