Eternals: Mixed Reviews (Worse Rated MCU Movie), but How about its Commercial Appeal

Box Office: ‘Eternals’ Earns Strong $9.5M in Previews, Ahead of ‘Shang-Chi’

Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao directs an A-list ensemble cast that includes Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Bryan Tyree Henry, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie


Eternals began its domestic run with a promising $9.5 million in Thursday previews for Marvel Studios and Disney.

That’s the third-best preview number of the year, and ahead of fellow Marvel event pic Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($8.8 million) but behind Black Widow ($13.2 million) and Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($11.6 million).

The middling reviews for Eternals might hurt its box-office prospects.

The movie has the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score (only 50)of any title in the otherwise successful Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe.

Our Grade: B- (**1/2* out of *****)

Disney and Marvel are projecting a weekend debut of $75 million in North America.


Sprite (Lia McHugh), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Karun (Harish Patel), Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Ikaris (Richard Madden) in Marvel Studios' ETERNALS.

At the end of this summer, Shang-Chi opened to a dazzling $94.7 million domestically over the four-day Labor Day weekend, including $75.4 million for the three days. 

Venom: Let There Be Carnage set a new three-day benchmark in late September when opening to $90 million.

Both tentpoles received exclusive theatrical release, as is the case now with Eternals.

Eternals is the 26th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the third entry in Marvel’s Phase Four.

The film stars a diverse ensemble cast, including Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Harish Patel, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie.

The film follows a group of heroes from beyond the stars who have protected the Earth since the dawn of man and are forced to reunite in order to defeat monstrous creatures called the Deviants.

The big-budget tentpole is Zhao’s follow-up to her Best Picture Oscar-winning Nomadland, for which Frances McDormand broke records by becoming the first woman to win three Best Actress Oscars (Meryl Streep has won three Oscars, but one was in the supporting category).

Eternals is also launching day-and-date in most international markets, with the exception of China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam and has collected $19.8 million in its first two days from select markets opening Wednesday and Thursday.

Banned in Gulf Nations

The movie has been banned in several Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, after Disney declined to make certain edits. Sources suggest the decision was likely made over the inclusion of a same-gender couple in the film and the MCU’s first gay superhero. In one scene, the character, Phastos (Henry), and his onscreen husband, Ben (Haaz Sleiman), share a kiss.

And the event movie will open a week later in Russia due to new COVID-related lockdowns.