It seems Americans’ unwavering affinity for all things Marvel could be waning.
A new survey from Morning Consult found interest in superhero films made by DC Comics and the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe — which has dominated the box office since 2008, when Robert Downey, Jr., made his debut as Iron Man — is on the decline.
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Breaking out Marvel fans specifically, the survey of 2,200 U.S. adults last month found 82% still enjoy screening superhero movies. That is certainly not a low number, but it is a noteworthy dip from the 87% who said the same in November of last year.
Fifty-nine percent of adults overall said in July they enjoy superhero films — a drop from 64% last fall. Three MCU movies debuted between November and July: “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” and “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Additionally, the Sony Marvel film “Morbius” and DC Comics and Warner Bros.’ “The Batman” came out.
Some of the decline can almost certainly be chalked up to fatigue. The Walt Disney Company — and more recently, Warner Bros. — are pumping out a ton of content and it seems it could be over-saturating the market.
Another factor worth considering, though, are the leftist storylines embedded in the films.
While “Avengers: Endgame” remains the MCU’s greatest performing film of all time, coming in second is “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which premiered in December of last year and earned much more money at the box office than the other Marvel movies released around the same time.
In addition to following the traditional structure of a superhero film, “No Way Home” had another huge benefit to its name: it didn’t contain any “woke” or leftist messages — and audiences seemed to notice.
Aside from that one outlier, which was helped by a Christmastime debut, it seems the post-Iron Man MCU is following the leftist cues from its parent company, Disney.
“Eternals,” which premiered in November 2021, featured the MCU’s first openly gay superhero. Then came “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which featured leftist talking points, an embrace of occultism, and a main character, America Chavez, who wears an LGBT pin throughout the film and briefly talks about her “two moms.” And the storyline of “Thor: Love and Thunder” alludes to two same-sex relationships and was lauded by its stars as “super gay.”
Around the same time, as CBN’s Faithwire previously reported, Disney released its Pixar film “Lightyear,” which faced criticism for portraying a romantic kiss between two female characters in a movie geared toward children. In response to the concern, Buzz Lightyear star Chris Evans — known for playing Captain America in MCU films — said critics of the kiss are “idiots” and will “die off like dinosaurs.”
The animated “Toy Story” spinoff did not perform well in the box office.
All of this comes as Disney CEO Bob Chapek, whose contract was recently renewed for another five years, has vowed to be a “better ally for the LGBTQ+ community” — a concession he made after facing intense rebuke for not immediately condemning Florida, where Walt Disney World is located, for passing a law barring public school educators from teaching kids in pre-K through third grade about gender identity and sexual orientation.
Karey Burke, president of general entertainment for Disney, followed Chapek by saying she wants to see “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters” in Disney shows and films moving forward.
It would be difficult to isolate just one cause for the drop in interest in superhero movies, but the decline is happening at the same time Disney itself is in rocky territory, and it seems unlikely the brand’s leftist political and moral agenda isn’t at least a contributing factor.
In May, Axios surveyed thousands of Americans on the 100 “most visible companies,” asking respondents to rank the brands on a number of different metrics: the higher a company is on the list, the better its reputation is among survey participants. In 2021, Disney ranked No. 37. Within a year’s time, the iconic entertainment brand plummeted 28 spots to No. 65, sliding from “very good” to “good.”
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