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Will the Weekend Box Office be Eternally Grateful?

Disney/Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest superhero movie, Eternals, got off to a strong start, generating a reported $9.5 million in Thursday (Nov. 4) pre-screenings. The 26th Marvel Studios theatrical release opens nationwide tonight (Nov. 5) across more than 4,000 North American screens, including Imax.

Written and directed by Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), the ensemble cast release, spearheaded by Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Heyak and Kit Harington, among others, is set to complete a trio of Marvel titles that includes Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and has resonated with moviegoers during the pandemic.

Similarly to Shang-Chi, Eternals will be shown exclusively at theaters, bypassing Premier Access VOD distribution to Disney+ streaming subscribers.

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Black Widow generated an impressive $60 million in first-weekend retail sales to go along with an $80 million opening box office. Critics, however, contend PVOD undermined the film’s long-term theatrical business, while lead star Scarlett Johansson sued Disney, claiming the early in-home retail access deprived her a greater percentage of theatrical compensation.

Meanwhile, Eternals has generated the lowest Rotten Tomatoes critics score of any Marvel movie since Thor: The Dark World in 2013. That film, featuring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston and Stellan Skarsgård, went on to open at $85 million domestically and generate $645 million in total worldwide box office.

Eternals is reportedly projected to generate about $75 million this weekend, and won’t have a new tentpole competitor until Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife on Nov. 19. The other notable new release includes Neon’s Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart.

Ongoing weekend competitors include Warner Bros. Pictures’ Dune, MGM’s No Time to Die, Universal Pictures’ Halloween Kills, Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Searchlight Pictures’ The French Dispatch, and Disney/20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong.

Movies entering their second weekend of release include Searchlight’s Antlers, Focus Features’ Last Night in Soho, and Funimation’s My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission.

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