‘The Marvels’ gets Stephen King’s support amid box office woes: ‘Why gloat over failure?’

Three women in form-fitting superhero suits looking up and away while standing at an angle against a beige background
“The Marvels” stars Iman Vellani, left, Brie Larson and Teyonah Parris.
(Laura Radford / Disney-Marvel Studios via Associated Press)

Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel and Monica Rambeau just found an unexpected ally in horror icon Stephen King.

The “Shining” and “Pet Sematary” author defended “The Marvels,” a new film centered on the trio of superheroes, in a series of tweets on Monday. Directed by Nia DaCosta, “The Marvels” is the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and its weakest performer at the box office.

Starring Iman Vellani, Brie Larson and Teyonah Parris, “The Marvels” earned $47 million in North America in its opening weekend, falling behind 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” which scored $55.4 million in its premiere weekend. “The Marvels” was met with mixed reviews — and trolling online.

‘The Marvels,’ the latest entry into Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, landed the top spot at the domestic box office, despite having the worst opening weekend of the MCU era.

Nov. 12, 2023

Some social media users on X, formerly Twitter, said the lackluster box performance was predictable and claimed that its failure was somehow linked to its diverse cast of leading stars. “Good,” one Twitter user replied to The Times’ box office report on Sunday.


King — who says he isn’t a fan of MCU movies — spoke out Monday against the trolling of “The Marvels.”

“I find this barely masked gloating over the low box office for THE MARVELS very unpleasant,” he wrote.

“Why gloat over failure?” he added.

If the online ire against “The Marvels” feels like déja vu, that’s likely because the “Captain Marvel” solo movie faced similar negativity in 2019. Larson’s film experienced review bombing by people who left misogynistic reviews for the film on Rotten Tomatoes, even before the movie had been screened.

In another post Monday, King, 76, said the trolling against “The Marvels” “may be adolescent fanboy hate.”

“The Marvels” was released just days after SAG-AFTRA approved a tentative deal with major studios after a nearly four-month-long strike. Leading up to its release, the “Marvels” stars were not able to promote the superhero flick without violating strike guidelines. And that meant no behind-the-scenes selfies on Instagram and no red carpets. “The Marvels” also hit theaters as Marvel reportedly reassesses its film approach before the new year.

A slew of headlines painted Marvel as a franchise in trouble. The full picture is more complicated — but for some, the frustration is all too real.

May 3, 2023

In her review, Tribune News Service critic Katie Walsh wrote that “‘The Marvels’ embraces the goofy nature of a sci-fi superhero movie aimed at a female audience.”

Times staff writer Carlos DeLoera contributed to this report.