Box office: Eternals reigns supreme with $71 million debut

Box office: Eternals reigns supreme with $71 million debut

The movie has managed to score the fourth-best opening weekend for any movie during the pandemic era, despite the iffy reviews.
08 Nov, 2021

Eternals soared to the top of the weekend box office chart, buoyed by mania for all things Marvel. But its $71 million debut fell just short of projections, which had the superhero film debuting to $75 million.

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-19. 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.

Eternals 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.

MGM and United Artist Releasing's 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.

Sony's Venom: Let There Be Carnage took fourth position on the charts, with $4.5 million. The symbiote sequel has earned $197 million state-side.

20th Century Studios' 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.