A few months after “Solo: A Star Wars Story” fell short of box-office expectations, Disney CEO Bob Iger issued a sort-of mea culpa, conceding that the ambitious schedule of movies might have been “a little too much, too fast” and a “slowdown” was in order.
Even with “Spider-Man: Far From Home” swinging to another huge opening, Disney’s other marquee franchise, Marvel, might want to consider a similar course of action, slowing its roll after “Avengers: Endgame,” the operatic culmination of its 10-year plan.
At first blush, that might sound strange. “Spider-Man” opened to generally positive reviews, and in its first week has amassed a bountiful $185 million in North America and nearly $600 million worldwide. That hardly seems like the time to stage a strategic retreat.
Still, piggybacking on the “Avengers” narrative represents an advantage that somewhat muddies the analysis. And the movie’s creative shortcomings — which are not insignificant — coupled with the challenge of sustaining a massive interlocking “cinematic universe” suggest the major casualties suffered in “Endgame” have left holes in Marvel’s merry marching society, which will require a little time to absorb and recover.
Marvel obviously has plenty of arrows left in its quiver, including no-brainer sequels to “Black Panther,” “Captain Marvel” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Whatever weight is pulling down this summer’s box office, Marvel has managed to defy that gravity.
The company’s catalogue, however, exhibits signs of being stretched, not only in terms of feeding the theatrical beast, but also providing several new limited series featuring high-profile characters for Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+.