March 29, 2023

There is a lot of new around the corner, with reboots of “Blade” and “Fantastic Four” on the way, as well as entirely new franchises such as “Thunderbolts.” But it’s those sequel comments that truly offer a window into how thinking might be changing at Disney and Marvel Studios. In particular, it appears as though third and fourth entries in solo franchises such as “Thor: Love and Thunder” or the previously mentioned “Quantumania” may be reconsidered in the future. And, in fairness, there may be a good reason to consider the value of such propositions.

Taking “Quantumania” as an example, the third “Ant-Man” film has suffered massive drops at the box office following its huge opening weekend. In the end, it’s likely going to end up as the lowest-grossing entry in the franchise, as well as the one with the highest budget at around $200 million. That doesn’t leave much room for a fourth entry. Similarly, “Thor: Love and Thunder” was a decline both critically and commercially compared to “Thor: Ragnarok.” The law of diminishing returns does come into play at some point — even for the MCU. Not to mention that actor and director salaries are much higher for later entries in a franchise. Not producing third or fourth movies can, therefore, save money.

Broadly speaking, Disney is also trying to tighten up its company-wide strategy after a rough couple of years under CEO Bob Chapek, who ushered the company through the pandemic. Iger is back in charge though and recently outlined his plans for the House of Mouse. Ultimately, it’s going to amount to fewer projects produced, hoping for a quality-over-quantity effect. Budgets are going to tighten, and decisions over which movies get made will be more heavily scrutinized. For the MCU, that may mean it makes more sense to go with something like a “Nova” movie, for example, rather than “Doctor Strange 3.”

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