‘It’s Been A Rough Time’: Marvel Boss On The Studio Changing Its Methods And ‘Coming Back Strong’ After Box Office Bombs

 Paul Rudd and Jonathan Majors in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Paul Rudd and Jonathan Majors in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Although the Marvel Cinematic Universe remains one of the most popular entertainment franchises, the last few years have been somewhat rocky on the Marvel movies in order and accompanying TV shows front. While some projects, like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Loki, have been hits with the masses, others, like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, The Marvels and Secret Invasion, failed to make a splash critically and/or commercially. Louis D’Esposito, Co-President of Marvel Studios, is aware “it’s been a rough time” for the MCU, but he’s confident that the franchise will be “coming back strong” following the studio changing its methods.

While there was a time when moviegoers were lucky enough to only get one or two MCU movies a year, Marvel Studios’ output has increased significantly since then. Not only has the release of MCU shows to Disney+ subscribers opened up many new corners of this shared universe, but delivering three movies per year had become the norm, and 2021 even brought four! But those days are behind us, with D’Esposito telling Empire the following:

It’s been a rough time. If we just stayed on top, that would have been the worst thing that could have happened to us. We took a little hit, we’re coming back strong. Maybe when you do too much, you dilute yourself a little bit. We’re not going to do that anymore. We learned our lesson. Maybe two to three films a year and one or two shows, as opposed to doing four films and four shows.

2024 looks like it will be following through on Louis D’Esposito’s promise regarding TV shows, at least when it comes to live-action fare. Echo has already been released, and the only non-animated upcoming Marvel TV show lined up for this year is Agatha. Meanwhile, Deadpool & Wolverine is the only upcoming Marvel movie slated for 2024, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is actually looking forward to that being the franchise’s only cinematic offering of the year, saying:

It’s nice to be able to rally behind one feature project this year. I’m much more comfortable being the underdog. I prefer being able to surprise, and exceed expectations. So it does seem like the last year, which has not been ideal, has set us up well for that.

Circling back to Louis D’Esposito’s comments, as he sees it, had Marvel Studios continued its hot streak of success, that would have been detrimental. Hitting that rough patch has allowed the company to reevaluate its priorities and focus on what projects it truly wants to deliver to people and not oversaturate them with content. Maybe this will result in certain previously-announced or reported movies or TV shows being shelved, but D’Esposito sounds confident that Marvel is bouncing back.

It is worth noting that currently 2025 has four Marvel movies scheduled: Captain America: Brave New World, Thunderbolts* (yes, that asterisks is meant to be there), The Fantastic Four and Blade. So in keeping with this new release model, I suspect Blade will be pushed to 2026, and if that happens, we’ll let you know. TV-wise, Daredevil: Born Again and Ironheart are both expected to be released next year too.