In the footsteps of the Marvel superhero films released this year, ‘Eternals’ raked in $9.5 million at its Thursday previews, making it the third best for the Covid era, behind ‘Black Widow’ ($13.2 million) and ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ ($11.6 million). Its haul was ahead, though, of ‘Shang-Chi’, which had opened with $8.8 million, reports ‘Variety’.
The Chloe Zhao film starring Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek may have got a ‘Rotten’ rating on ‘Rotten Tomatoes’, and been banned in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar because it shows gay love, but audiences forked out an estimated $19.8 million to watch it in theatres across 39 markets in its first two days.
‘Eternals’ is projected to earn a sizable $75 million on its opening weekend — ‘Shang-Chi’ and ‘Black Widow’ debuted at $75.4 million and $80.4 million, respectively. ‘Black Widow’ was made available to rent on Disney Plus, where it pulled in $60 million, but both ‘Shang-Chi’ and ‘Eternals’ are having exclusive theatrical releases.
The film is being hailed as a major milestone for inclusion — its legion of heroes has Marvel’s first openly gay character and its first deaf protagonist. “It also marks director Chloe Zhao’s follow-up to her Oscar-winning ‘Nomadland’, with the filmmaker moving from smaller, auteur-like works to the big-budget confines of a comic book flick,” says ‘Variety’.