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That’s the lowest audience grade of any of the 26 titles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the previous lowest was the first Thor (B+). The rest have earned a variation of an A CinemaScore.
Plenty of fanboys turned out on opening day to see Eternals thanks to Marvel’s loyal following, but the film is looking front-loaded. Eternals grossed an estimated $30.7 million on Friday, including $9.5 million in Thursday previews.
Box office analysts are projecting a weekend debut in the $67 million to $69 million range.
Eternals is faring better overseas, where it has grossed $38.4 million in its first three days for a global total of $69.1 million.
Heading into the weekend, Disney and Marvel Studios were hopeful that Eternals could hit $75 million in its North American opening and essentially match the three-day debut of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings despite the tepid reviews.
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. The other 2021 MCU title — Black Widow — posted a three-day debut of $80.4 million even though it was also available in the home via Disney+ Premier Access.
In addition to the CinemaScore grade, Eternals also presently has the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score — 49 percent — of any MCU offering.
Eternals is 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.
Elsewhere at the box office, Pablo Larrain’s specialty pic Spencer — starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana — is opening in 996 theaters. The movie is on course to earn just under $2 million in its debut, underscoring the challenges facing adult-skewing fare in the COVID-19 era.
Neon is hopeful that Spencer will have long legs throughout awards season; Stewart is expected to have a shot at a best actress Oscar nomination.
The weekend’s other new offering in theaters is Red Notice, the big-budget Netflix action-comedy starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot.
The movie is debuting in more than 700 cinemas — a sizable count for a Netflix title — a week ahead of its launch on the streamer. While Netflix gives its original movies a berth in select cinemas, the company’s business model isn’t focused on theatrical.
Netflix doesn’t report grosses, so Red Notice isn’t getting much attention, or theatrical marketing, despite its star-packed cast. Analysts with sources in the exhibition business believe Red Notice will open to less than $1 million, but those aren’t official numbers.
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