Eternals, one of Marvel's most ambitious efforts to expand its superhero universe, arrived in theaters with about $71 million in ticket sales over the weekend, according to studio estimates. By most studios' box-office standards, the opening was enviable. Only three other films have debuted better during the pandemic, the AP reports: Black Widow ($80.3 million), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($75.3 million), and Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($90 million). But for Marvel's well-oiled blockbuster machine, the Eternals launch in some ways constituted a bump in the road in an unparalleled 26-film streak.
Going into the weekend, forecasts had been only slightly higher, at about $75 million domestically. More concerning for the Walt Disney Co. was the mixed audience response to Chloé Zhao's 157-minute movie about an immortal race of superheroes. The film is the first in the Marvel "cinematic universe" to rank "rotten" in Rotten Tomatoes' aggregate critic score, with only 47% of reviews considered positive. Audiences also gave it a lower grade—a "B" CinemaScore—than any previous MCU entry. The film cost about $200 million to produce. It opened strongly overseas, grossing $90.7 million in 46 international territories.
The weekend's other major new release was Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana. The acclaimed drama, which is expected to land Stewart her first Oscar nomination, launched in 996 locations and grossed $2.1 million for Neon. The rest of the weekend's top draws were holdovers. In its third weekend of release, Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi epic Dune took in $7.6 million for a cumulative total of $83.9 million. Warner Bros released the film simultaneously on HBO Max. MGM and United Artists release's James Bond entry No Time to Die grossed $6.1 million in its fifth weekend of release, bringing its domestic haul to $143.2 million. The film will be released on video-on-demand Tuesday for $20 rentals.
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