Despite poor critical reception and box office projections, Marvel Studios’ Eternals has exceeded expectations in its opening weekend. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Eternals enjoyed a $71 million debut in North America, which was on the lower end of projects.
Overseas, the latest Phase Four installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe earned $161.7 million in its opening, the second-largest opening in the pandemic era. Fandango reported that Eternals‘ advance ticket sales outpaced Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which debuted in theaters in early September.
Eternals has not fared well with the critics. It is the only MCU film to receive a Rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes and it has received the lowest audience grade on CinemasScore of any of the franchise’s films — making it the worst-rated MCU film since Thor: The Dark World.
However, the movie seems to be performing financially well overseas, despite it being pulled in multiple countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar , potentially due to its depiction of a same-sex couple.
There have been claims that Disney was given a list of edits by censors in the aforementioned countries that the studio refused to make. The edits in question reportedly revolved around the movie’s on-screen romance between Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos and Haaz Sleiman’s Ben. Such relationships are still illegal in many Gulf countries and projects have been pulled in the past for featuring LGBTQ+ plots, characters and themes.
“I don’t know all the details but I do believe discussions were had and there’s a big desire from Marvel and myself — we talked about this — to not change the cut of the movie,” Zhao told IndieWire. “Fingers crossed.”
The sky-high ambitions of Eternals was encouraged by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who previously stated that this would be a “bold new step.” He continued, “That was the whole idea…Nate Moore, our producer, really had that driving vision for what this could be.” Feige followed by explaining, “It was in a post-Infinity Saga world — we wanted to make a bold new step and say, ‘You don’t know everything about the universe yet…’ And that there are these 10 spectacular heroes who you haven’t met who’ve been here the whole time.”
In other entertainment related news, The Book of Boba Fett has a new trailer.
Photos via Marvel/IGN