The domestic box office is in store for a resurge again with Disney/Marvel’s deep universe IP Eternals this weekend. The movie is heading toward a $75 million opening frame in 4,000 locations, with previews beginning Thursday at 6 p.m.
Fandango is reporting that the Chloé Zhao-directed feature is now the second best preseller among this year’s blockbusters per advance ticket sales. Eternals is pacing ahead of Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which previously held the position, and behind only Marvel’s Black Widow.
In overall exhibitor presales, which includes Fandango, Deadline hears that Eternals has already banked $13M, which is 13% behind Black Widow at the same point in time and 25% ahead of Shang-Chi. The movie is tracking strong with males, Hispanics, African Americans and Asian audiences.
The slowdown from the pic’s $80M-plus original projection stems from being the worst-reviewed MCU movie to date at 54% Rotten. The pic at 2 hours and 37 minutes has a complicated storyline, though the Marvel brand alone is known to be Teflon. This is a deep-dive piece of MCU, which is playing into the most recent phase’s multiverse that is bound to stoke the Reddit crowd, which could potentially send grosses higher, though that remains to be seen.
In addition, another fall fanboy comp that shows how the box office can decimate its Rotten Tomatoes reviews are the Venom movies: The first film notched an RT of 30% Rotten but opened to $80.2M, while the sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage improved to 60% fresh, currently holding the best opening at the domestic box office during the pandemic with $90M.
While Thor: Ragnarok in 2017 ranks as the best domestic opening for an MCU title in November with $122.7M, the outlook for Eternals isn’t that far from Doctor Strange‘s $85M debut and Thor: The Dark World‘s $85.7M stateside start.
Eternals‘ U.S. and Canada theater count includes 400 Imax auditoriums, 850+ Premium Large Format screens, 1,600 3D locations, and 250 specialty D-Box/4D screens.
Fandango surveyed more than 1,000 moviegoers planning to see Eternals and found that:
98% are excited to see the Marvel Cinematic Universe expanding with new characters;
97% are looking forward to seeing a different kind of Marvel Studios movie;
94% are excited to see the film’s use of real, exotic locations (instead of CGI green screens); and
81% are curious to see Oscar-winning director Zhao’s take on the superhero genre.
“Eternals is a haunting, soulful and spectacular epic, the kind that only Chloé Zhao can deliver and that demands to be seen on the big screen,” Fandango managing editor Erik Davis. “It offers a new MCU mythology that makes it feel separate from every Marvel movie that has come before it, and it takes the brand in a refreshing new direction.”
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