Eternals Tops $300 Million At The Worldwide Box Office, Without China

After spending less than two full weeks in theaters, Marvel's "Eternals" has crossed a major milestone at the box office. Director ChloƩ Zhao's Marvel Cinematic Universe epic has officially passed the $300 million mark worldwide. In the process, it has helped to further establish the new norm, not just for Marvel superhero movies, but big blockbusters in general as we attempt to emerge from the pandemic.

As reported by Forbes, "Eternals" has now earned $123.6 million domestically to go along with $176.4 million internationally. What's most important about that international number is that it doesn't include any ticket sales from China, as the film is not going to be released in that country, which is one of the largest (and currently the largest) moviegoing markets in the world. Unfortunately, many Hollywood blockbusters are likely going to have to make due without the Middle Kingdom, as the country's government is being far more selective about which American movies it allows to play there.

Even without China, "Eternals" seems to be shifting toward a heavier domestic/international split than other MCU movies. It's currently at 41% domestic and 59% overseas, with international markets likely to take a larger share as the weeks roll on. For comparison's sake, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" finished with a 52.1%/47.9% split, while "Black Widow" had a 48.4%/51.6% split.

A New Normal Is Emerging

China has been a make-or-break for some superhero blockbusters, at least in the past. "Venom," for example, grossed a staggering $269 million in the country back in 2018. Granted, only about 25% of that money makes it back to the studio, but a quarter of $269 million is still one heck of a nice chunk of change. While that's an extreme example, without a guaranteed Chinese release the ceiling for what a big-budget movie can make in the post-pandemic world seems to have been set, more or less.

"Venom: Let There Be Carnage" ($442 million), "Shang-Chi" ($430 million), "Black Widow ("$379 million), and "Dune" ($353 million, likely on its way to around $400 million) present us with enough to establish a pattern. In the old days, pre-2020, movies would regularly make anywhere between $700 million and $1 billion worldwide, if not more. Now? It seems between $400 and $500 million is the best a movie can expect to gross without China.

This will have a big effect on movies going forward, as budgets will need to (or at least should) account for that, and studios will be even more discerning about the movies they decide to spend big money on. Expect to see less risk-taking, as the sure bets need to be truly sure bets without the promise of huge international box office receipts.