That’s a sign, perhaps, that the iffy reviews muted ‘Eternals’ results or a signal that the underlying intellectual property, the story of a group of god-like extraterrestrials, didn’t have the resonance of other comic book adaptations. Marvel has successfully introduced lesser-known heroes, such as the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, to movie fans and spawned successful franchises with them, but that series got a lift from critics and also debuted in a time before anyone had ever heard of COVID. So, a much different world order.
‘Eternals’ still managed to score the fourth-best opening weekend for any movie during the pandemic era, sliding in behind Marvel’s own ‘Black Widow’ ($80.3 million) and ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ ($75.3 million) as well as ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ ($90 million), which was made by Sony but based on a Marvel comic creation. It’s an impressive number — and any other studio or feature would be thrilled to have a launch of that size — but for a Marvel venture it’s hard to not view it as falling short of sky-high expectations. Heavy the head that wears the box office crown and all that. Internationally, ‘Eternals’ took in $90.7 million, bringing its global haul to $161.7 million.
The film is directed by Chloe Zhao, fresh of the Oscar-winning ‘Nomadland’, but reviewers griped that the film in long on exposition and light on entertainment. It has the ignominious distinction of being the only Marvel movie to draw a “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with only 49% of reviews marked as positive. Audiences were also lukewarm on what Zhao cooked up, giving the film a so-so “B” CinemaScore.
‘Dune’, Warner Bros. and Legendary’s adaption of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel, came in second with $7.6 million, pushing its domestic haul to $83.9 million. A sequel to the film was officially greenlit days after the first entry in the Dune-verse opened in theatres. Denis Villeneuve directs a cast that includes Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Javier Bardem, Zendaya and Rebecca Ferguson.
‘No Time to Die’ nabbed third place with $6.2 million, which pushes the spy film’s total to $143.1 million. The film, which marks Daniel Craig‘s final outing as 007, will be available to rent on digital platforms next week, just 31 days after it opened in cinemas.
‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ took fourth position on the charts, with $4.5 million. The symbiote sequel has earned $197 million stateside.
The animated adventure ‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’ rounds out the top five, earning $3.6 million. That takes its domestic haul to a doleful $17.6 million.