With the ongoing pandemic affecting the number of people visiting cinemas, it’s no surprise that Marvel’s Eternals suffered at the box-office back in November 2021. With an estimated budget of $200 million, and Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao at the helm, many expected this epic new superhero tale to be a huge success. However, the film accumulated a worldwide gross of just over $400 million, and was deemed a failure by the gargantuan standards of the MCU.
In addition to this, those who did venture out to see the film on the big screen, more often than not, returned with mixed reviews. Eternals was criticised for its elongated runtime and overstuffed narrative, as well as some of the actors coming under fire for their performances.
But now, the film has seemingly found a new audience, at home. Eternals dropped on Disney Plus on January 12, 2022, and has gone on to break the record for streams in the first five days, previously held by its predecessor, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Samba TV reported two million US households streamed Eternals in the initial five day period on Disney Plus, in a tweet on January 18, 2022. This figure surpasses the 1.8 million households that Shang-Chi reached during its own launch, and obliterates the 1.1 million households achieved by Black Widow, back in July.
— Samba TV (@samba_tv) January 18, 2022
Arguably, Marvel and Disney have been guilty of both poor timing and perfect timing when it comes to the release of Eternals. Placing the theatrical release just before the holidays in the US, and in the middle of a worsening global health crisis, was always going to see the film take a hit at the box-office.
Conversely, unleashing the film on the home streaming service in the new year, was a stroke of genius. Everybody knows Januarys are slow and are best spent at home, staying warm and cosy. And, the general public, or at least those with access to a Disney Plus subscription, will naturally be drawn to a film starring big names like Angelina Jolie and Harry Styles.
The film certainly lends itself to repeat viewings, too, with many Easter eggs that you may not spot the first time around; another benefit of the streaming experience. And, as always, with any Marvel film, remember to stick around for the post-credit scenes.