- The Marvels, the sequel to Captain Marvel, may not live up to fans’ high expectations despite reshoots and test screenings.
- The film’s low presale numbers and middling reviews from recent test screenings suggest that it may not meet MCU expectations.
- Director Nia DaCosta’s split focus on another project during postproduction and reshoots, combined with a lack of marketing and toxic fan harassment, may have contributed to the film’s potential failure.
With The Marvels just days away from release and the Marvel Cinematic Universe seeing a downturn, new insider information suggests that the project hasn’t worked out how fans might have hoped despite reports of reshoots and ample test screenings.
The success of 2019’s Captain Marvel all but guaranteed a sequel, but when The Marvels was announced, some fans were pleasantly surprised. With the first film’s record-setting $1.1 billion box office intake and Captain Marvel’s involvement in the even more iconic Avengers: Endgame, there was little chance that the sequel would live up to its predecessor, a worry borne out when it was noted that The Marvels had alarmingly low presale numbers.
While it was initially reported that The Marvels got shockingly positive responses from early screenings, more recent screenings indicate that the reworked cut might have had the opposite of the desired effect. According to an insider engaged with Variety, test screenings held in June saw the audience return mediocre reviews on the project, which finished principal photography in May of 2022 and was initially set to release in July, just a month after the test screenings took place. The move to a November premiere was the second such move the project underwent after initially swapping release dates with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Now, the film is expected to open to a conservative $75 million, well below MCU expectations.
The source also revealed that there was one concerning occurrence behind the scenes that could potentially explain some of the backsliding. Nia DaCosta, the director behind The Marvels and its Ms. Marvel post-credit setup, was also noted to have moved on to another project while work on The Marvels was still underway, moving to London while postproduction and a whole month of reshoots were going on to try and help fix what was described as a tangled storyline. The absence comes as a surprise to many, with a source close to the production clarifying that this was strange behavior for the director, especially on a project of that magnitude.
If you’re directing a $250 million movie, it’s kind of weird for the director to leave with a few months to go.
DaCosta’s apparent split focus is just one of many reasons that murmurs allege that the MCU is setting The Marvels up to fail, with the lack of marketing brought on by the strike being another major factor. The film was presented early on, for better or worse, as a girl-power adventure with a woman of color at the helm that would appeal heavily to the female demographic in a predominantly male space. By keeping to a premiere date that all but assured that none of the leading ladies could promote the film even on the week of release, it is hard to argue that Marvel Studios didn’t doom the film to a mediocre opening. Worse yet, the reportedly middling screening from June was a rare public test held in Texas, as opposed to Disney’s usual internal testing, putting a worrying but likely accurate cap on the film’s potential for fan enjoyment.
With The Marvels still on track for a franchise-low opening weekend, the trailer being widely disliked, and Brie Larson reportedly considering quitting the MCU due to what she views as toxic fan harassment, it’ll be quite the miracle if the sequel can justify the immense investment and expectations put in by the studio.
The Marvels is set for theatrical release on November 10, 2023.
Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel has reclaimed her identity from the tyrannical Kree and taken revenge on the Supreme Intelligence. But unintended consequences see Carol shouldering the burden of a destabilized universe. When her duties send her to an anomalous wormhole linked to a Kree revolutionary, her powers become entangled with that of Jersey City super-fan Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, and Carol’s estranged niece, now S.A.B.E.R. astronaut Captain Monica Rambeau.