Quantumania Just Set A Horrific Record For Marvel, Are Audiences Finally Getting Tired Of The MCU?

Quantumania has the largest second-weekend drop in Marvel history, at 70%, right alongside the last two year's of films, proving that the once enormous audience is getting smaller and smaller.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

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After 30 films, the bloom is off the rose for Disney, and while the audience is speaking loud and clear, we won’t know for a very long time if the studio is listening. Variety reports that Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania has officially claimed the inglorious title of “worst second-weekend box office drop in Marvel history”, which isn’t good news, but it gets even worse for Disney. The top five MCU films with the largest second-weekend drops are all from the last two years.

While that seems like it may be hyperbole, the numbers don’t lie; with Quantumania’s astonishing 70 percent drop at the top of the pile, Marvel’s Phase 4 films line up neatly behind it: Thor: Love and Thunder at 68 percent, Black Widow with a debatable 68 percent, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with 67 percent, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in at 63 percent. Spider-Man: No Way Home also had an amazing 67.5 percent drop, but that film ran into Christmas on its second weekend and quickly bounced back.

Black Widow came out during the height of Covid safety measures in theaters nationwide, so while it’s unfair to include it, it still fits the post-Endgame narrative taking shape around the MCU. Quantumania kicks off Marvel’s Phase 5, the second phase without Robert Downey Jr. or Chris Evans involved, and right now, it’s just as disappointing as Phase 4. The broader audience isn’t showing up for superhero films as they once did, except for the billion-dollar Spider-Man box office, which is an exception and not the rule.

The front-loaded box office, all of the films were number one their first weekend of release, points to a lack of repeat viewings and poor word of mouth. Quantumania has made over $300 million worldwide, but it’s not hooking the casual Marvel fan compared to the last Ant-Man film. A lukewarm reception, at best, from the fanbase, makes it clear that the last few years of movies just are not resonating with the public.

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Kathryn Newton and Paul Rudd in Quantumania

Multiverse of Madness exposes a second problem with widespread discussion after the film debuted about the role of Elizabeth Olson’s Wanda Maximoff. Most viewers had not seen Wandavision and were confused over the dramatic change to her character; in fact, even fans that did see Wandavision were confused. The Disney+ series was about her journey through grief and reaching a place of acceptance, with the final post-credits scene giving no hint as to the Darkhold’s corruption, causing audiences to wonder why they bothered watching the show.

How will The Marvels fare when one of its characters, Monica Rambeau (Lasahana Lynch), is from Wandavision and the apparent star of the film, Ms. Marvel (Iman Velleni), debuted in the least-watched Disney+ series to date? More people watched Moon Knight and She-Hulk, and those characters aren’t appearing in a major feature film anytime soon. Quantumania will likely still make a profit for Marvel, but it’ll be a Black Adam-sized profit, which is disappointing for the perennial hit-maker.

What Disney and Marvel can do to reverse the slide is unknown, and thankfully the next MCU film is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the final film for the underdog superhero team. Also, James Gunn’s last film for Marvel, the trilogy-ender, will likely have a massive opening weekend, but will it hold on or start to fade away immediately? Since The Marvels is the only other MCU film this year, it’s looking like a very disappointing year for the superhero franchise.