'The Marvels' bombs with worst MCU opening yet

The age of superhero movies is over. 'The Marvels,' already perceived as the MCU's Hail Mary, failed to crack $48m on its opening weekend. With a $274.8m official budget (and much more spent on marketing), it is all but doomed to be the fall movie season's biggest bomb. Middling reviews are one thing; viewer fatigue for Marvel's exhausted and widely-copied filmmaking formula is another.

"The Marvels" also fell short of expectations at the international box office with $63.3 million from 51 territories for a worldwide start of $110 million. Disney had hoped to generate at least $140 million globally over the weekend. And even that wouldn't have been great for a tentpole that cost roughly $220 million to produce and $100 million to promote the film to audiences across the globe.

"The Marvels" turnout (or lack thereof) is surprising because the passionate MCU fanbase has turned even less-embraced installments into box-office winners. Audiences flat-out rejected "The Marvels," so it'll likely struggle to rebound as the holiday season heats up with "The Hunger Games" prequel "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes," Disney's animated "Wish" and other family-friendly films in the coming weeks.

"This is an unprecedented Marvel box office collapse," says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. "The strikes hurt the film's marketing, but that's not what's driving these numbers."

Note the industry surprise at the failure of something that many outside the industry expected to fail.