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Marvel Movies Doing Badly at the Box Office Shouldn’t Be Traumatic

If The Marvels indeed underperforms this weekend, it will not be the first time the MCU has endured a financial disappointment at the multiplex, nor even the first year. There is the aforementioned Ant-Man 3, and there was also Eternals only a few years ago. Marvel Studios will not stop making movies because of a second disappointment this year, nor is the superhero genre about to go away.

There is certainly room to consider why the superhero genre is apparently in a state of financial decline, and what is it about the current crop of films that caused audiences to lose demonstrable interest over the last several years. However, the genre still remains wildly popular around the world, with Marvel Studios in particular remaining the most well-known movie franchise across the globe. In other words, it has enough financial stake to take a few hits and adjust.

Yet the more curious aspect of this is why are fans emotionally invested in a company to the point where their financial troubles could inflict personal anxiety or discomfort? Unless you worked directly on the film, at Marvel Studios or Disney, or have a lot of stock in the parent company, the financial fortunes of a single tentpole should not not cause emotional distress. More acutely though, it’s disconcerting that fans are creating parasocial connections with the finances of a company. This transcends being a fan of a character, or a performance, or even an overarching story of a shared universe—it is apparently looking for emotional validation based on the ebbs and flows of ticket sales.

News reports as common as box office recaps should not cause that amount of anguish. Even if The Marvels disappoints, the Marvel company isn’t going anywhere—the same will apply to Larson’s Captain Marvel and the rest of the team.

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