Who is part of The Marvels' unique MCU audience?
Marvel’s newest superhero team-up, The Marvels, made its debut to a distinctly different audience compared to recent Marvel titles, showcasing an evolving landscape in audience demographics within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). We examined the film’s opening weekend audience from across the US, identifying valuable marketing opportunities that could attract even more audiences to see the title.
When comparing to the film’s 2019 predecessor, Captain Marvel, as well as this year’s Marvel releases Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, The Marvels attracted a higher proportion of frequent* moviegoers in its opening weekend at 33% of its audience compared to the 24% average for the other three titles. The movie also over-indexed for very frequent* moviegoers at 5% compared to the 3% benchmark for all movies recorded in the Movio Research Console.
The higher attendance of frequent moviegoers translated into a lower proportion of infrequent moviegoers for The Marvels at only 25% of its audience vs 28% for Captain Marvel, 29% for Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 and 41% for Quantumania.
The Marvels attracted a slightly older audience than previous Marvel releases. 55% of The Marvels’ opening weekend audience were aged over 35, with the 35-44 age group specifically surpassing its benchmark by 9%. In contrast, the majority of Captain Marvel’s opening weekend audience were aged under 35, with the strongest attendance from the 25-34 age group, which was also been observed by Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 and Quantumania.
This indicates the MCU's aging audience, which started 15 years ago with 2008's Iron Man. With Captain Marvel reaching cinemas four years ago, much of the upper band of the 25-34 age group will have entered the next demographic segment of 35-44. Despite this, the franchise's continued appeal to the 25-34 age group remains evident from the demographic makeup of all recent Marvel titles, and the MCU has historically drawn younger audiences consistently.
In line with recent Marvel releases, The Marvels exhibits a significant male skew, accounting for 68% of its opening weekend audience. Interestingly, this proportion is 3% higher than Captain Marvel, despite its expectation of its stronger female appeal due to its female-led cast in contrast to other recent Marvel titles Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 and Quantumania.
Analysing the release pattern of Captain Marvel, female attendance increased from the second week onward. Expecting a similar trajectory with The Marvels, marketing efforts should primarily target females aged under 35, given the current under-representation of this demographic. Considering the MCU's success has largely been powered by younger moviegoers, there is potential for this film to further resonate with this demographic by highlighting its light-hearted and comedic tone, as previous titles like Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 have drawn audiences with.
Looking ahead to upcoming releases, pre-sales for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes predominantly come from females aged 18-24. Therefore strategic targeted marketing to maintain interest from this audience in the next few weeks will be crucial.
Additionally, the under-18 age group is particularly under-represented, representing just 14% of the film’s opening weekend audience – 10% lower than Captain Marvel, so targeted marketing towards this age group as well presents a valuable opportunity for boosting overall attendance.
Beyond demographics, there's an untapped opportunity to engage infrequent moviegoers, particularly those who have seen Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, as well as DC’s latest titles, The Flash and Blue Beetle.
*Frequency is based on a moviegoers' six-month session count:
< 2 = Infrequent
2-5 = Occasional
6-25 = Frequent
26+ = Very Frequent