Superhero film The Marvels made just $47m (£38m) in its first weekend, in the US, making it the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s lowest opening.
In contrast, Avengers: Endgame made box office history in 2019 by taking a record-breaking $1.2bn (£980m) in global ticket sales in its opening run.
The Marvels, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani and Teyonah Parris, follows 2019’s Captain Marvel film.
It was down 67% on the first film, analyst David A Gross said.
“This opening is an unprecedented Marvel box office collapse,” he said, adding that second superhero instalments usually outperform the originals and The Marvels has some way to go to recoup its $220m (£179m) production cost.
But it is not clear whether this reflects superhero fatigue at the cinema after so many hugely successful blockbusters.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which opened at cinemas in May, fared better with $118m (£96m) at the US box office for its opening weekend.
Gross suggested that the growth of streaming services may be denting cinema revenue, along with the recently ended actors’ strike, which meant The Marvels’ stars were unable to do promotional work.
He also cited “unimaginative and bad movies” across the genre.
Forbes’ Dani Di Placido wrote in March that superhero films just don’t feel essential any more”, adding; “Marvel Studios seems to be suffering from the same issues the comics did, releasing too much, too soon, resulting in a confused, fatigued audience.”
Nearly a year ago, Miles Surrey suggested that “after 20 years and billions in box office earnings, early signs suggest that the tides are turning against superheroes as the most dominant force in pop culture”. He said “polls have supported the theory that superhero fatigue is beginning to set i
The Marvels sees Captain Marvel trying to rescue a destabilised universe with the help of Ms Marvel, played by the TV show’s Vellani and Captain Monica Rambeau, played by Parris.
The film received mixed reviews from critics, with the New York Times saying “you’ve seen this movie 32 times before” and the Guardian calling it “superheroes to zeros in tepid franchise addition”.
Variety called it a “skittery sequel loaded down with MCU baggage”, but Screen Rant pointed out that its “Rotten Tomatoes audience score Is way better than expected after negative early reviews”.
The second film at the US box office was horror movie Five Nights at Freddy’s, while Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour was third, followed by Sofia Coppola’s biopic Priscilla.
Martin Scorsese’s history-based Killers of the Flower Moon, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone was fifth.