Well, why not?
Black Panther grossed $1.35 billion worldwide.
Captain Marvel’s take was $1.12 billion.
Compare those numbers with more traditional superhero films like Ironman III: $1.12 billion and Captain America: Civil War: $1.15 billion respectively. There is effectively zero difference in boxoffice take. Yes, they were fiddling things rather aggressively with Captain Marvel but no more than $50 million worth.
Clearly your average movie going zombie doesn’t care whether they are entertained or not so long as the Marvel nameplate is on the movie. Why not go full Woke?
At this point the view has to be, why shouldn’t we virtue signal? It doesn’t seem to hurt us when we do. Lets see how far we can go. If it flops, we can take the hit. We’re Disney!
The problem is that Disney is built on a tri-pod, it’s three legs are Disney/Pixar (pretty much indistinguishable at this point), Star Wars and Marvel.
The Disney/Pixar leg is strong enough for the moment, although they are now running out of John Lasseter projects so we’ll have to see how long that lasts.
Star Wars on the other hand is a broken leg. There is no way forward with the new characters. J.J. Abrams long time production assistant just got hired to head development, so you know they are completely lost as to what to do with the property, if they are handing the whole thing over to Team Mystery Box. When Star Wars IX makes 400 million at the boxoffice the end will be in sight for the franchise.
The Marvel leg looks to be the soundest at the moment but is it? Sure Endgame made 2.7 billion but now the team is about to enter a “rebuilding season.” Of the original six Avengers, the top three are gone. They do have a couple of one hit wonders but nobody knows if there is more to Black Panther and Captain Marvel than that.
So far as studios are concerned, the joy of a successful franchise is massive inertia. The hurt of one, is that that inertia can keep things going in the wrong direction for quite a while. It usually takes three movies to kill a franchise. First there is the initial misstep that knocks the train off the tracks (Man of Steel), the second film that continues thundering downhill on a path that leads to destruction (Batman V Superman) and then hitting the bottom of the cliff when the audience gives up and wanders off (Justice League).
I think Endgame was the first misstep. Sure everyone showed up for it and there were parts that people liked… But, there was a air of dissatisfaction with it. Certain elements just sort of felt fundamentally off. The time travel subplot was amusing but it also seemed like it was done wrong. There was a little too much humor at the expense of story. It was nice that Cap got his happily ever after but again, it left an odd taste in your mouth. And then there was that howler of a scene where the action had to stop at the climax so the heroines of the Marvelverse could all pose together.
Yeah, Endgame was the first misstep. Thorina is clearly and obviously the second. It will make money but the one after it may well be the franchise killing disaster.
And that may well be the end of Disney. Sure they just bought a bunch of intellectual properties but what are they getting? X-Men? Predator? Die Hard? The only thing they picked up with any blood in it’s veins is Deadpool and that has maybe one movie left before it’s played out too.
A tripod with two broken legs can’t support itself.