The box office results for “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” only look good at first glance. In truth, the falling Marvel trend continues…
Hitting #1 on the box office, edging out the big hit The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and generating sales that most titles only dream of, things are looking to be off to a great start for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. If you put the numbers in the necessary context, however, it becomes clear that the 32nd feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) continues the downward trend of what is after all the most successful film series of all time.
In Germany, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” has sold 475,000 tickets and 5.8 million euros in cinema sales, as Blickpunkt:Film reports. Since its release on Wednesday, a total of 550,000 visitors have opted for the Marvel film. In a direct comparison with the predecessor, however, it becomes clear that this is hardly a reason to be happy: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” attracted a whopping 750,000 viewers in Germany on the first weekend in 2017. The first part, which practically nobody had on the screen at the time, also started better on the first weekend with 490,000 tickets sold than the grand finale of the trilogy. The first two “Guardians of the Galaxy” films as well as the holiday special, which is very important for part 3, are streamed here on Disney +.
Looking at the sales numbers across the Atlantic is even more devastating. There “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” also conquered number 1 in the cinema charts and apparently made a lot of money with 114 million US dollars. But again, context is key. Because, as IndieWire reports, this is actually a negative record in the MCU. Since 2013, the franchise has released nine theatrical films in early May and late April respectively – and of all nine, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” made the least money at launch. The predecessor, for example, started with 146 million US dollars (via Box Office Mojo).
Corona, Disney +, Marvel fatigue – why is it?
Is the heyday of the MCU really over or are there other reasons that explain the dubious record of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”? One obvious suspicion is that the consequences of the corona pandemic will continue to affect the cinema landscape. According to CNBC, sales in the first quarter of 2023 are actually a good 25% behind the same period of 2019, i.e. the pre-Corona period.
Only: Despite everything, you could actually rely on the MCU films. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” ultimately grossed over $1.9 billion worldwide with a theatrical release in late 2021. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” had a US start in early May last year with $187 million in revenue, but ended up just missing the billion mark with $955 million worldwide. The fact that the trend in the MCU is going down became really clear for the first time this year with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”. The US start set a record within the “Ant-Man” series with a turnover of 106 million US dollars. However, that was followed by a brutal slump with an MCU negative record and ultimately just $475 million in worldwide earnings – the worst result of the three “Ant-Man” films (all figures via Box Office Mojo).
Criticism of the quality of the MCU titles has been increasing for some time, and the suspicion arises that a number of viewers are now waiting for a timely start on Disney + instead of seeing the films in cinemas. Presumably, even the fans would prefer to watch it again in streaming instead of paying money for a ticket again, but such repeated visits by passionate fans have also significantly boosted sales in the past. Especially since it may well be that the negative experience with “Quantumania” has (for the time being) cooled the passion for the MCU.
However, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” could be just the right title to reverse the negative trend. Because the response to the conclusion of the trilogy is extremely good: on Rotten Tomatoes, the film was liked by a whopping 95% of the audience, on IMDb the rating of 8.4 points is really impressive. Incidentally, we at kino.de share the positive criticism (for the most part). So the hope is that word will get around that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 really should be seen in cinemas, maybe even more than once. The box office results of the next few weeks will have to show whether that will happen.