The Value of Marvel’s Newest Heroes

Saiesha Munuri
Marketing Writer

Despite the struggles of movie theatres, Marvel mania led Disney’s newest release, Eternals, to soar on box office charts with a debut of $71 million to $80 million. Earning the title of the fourth-best opening weekend for any movie during the pandemic era, the title sits near other stories from the Marvel universe. Eternals trailed Black Widow, Shang-Chi, The Legend of the Ten Rings, and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, a film made by Sony but based on a Marvel comic creation.

The film’s references to the lore of the Eternals incorporate them into the MCU’s larger tapestry with the events of Endgame setting up the events of this new tentpole. With talent, including Salma Hayek, the movie explains the assembling of the immortal warriors for battle against the Deviants, the most ancient enemy of humans. A trailer of the film also revealed that Richard Madden’s Ikaris character uttered “Eternals assemble” during the fight. This parallels with Captain America’s “Avengers assemble” line during the battle against Thanos in Endgame. These references offer anchor points for these new characters to take their place in the Marvel universe. For Eternals, Disney allocated $100 million for its marketing budget, significantly higher than the $50 million that Black Widow and Shang-Chi each received. Disney’s Mindy Hamilton, SVP of Global Partnership Marketing, says that the company’s goal is to appeal to all audiences with the Eternals release. The movie’s footprint on social media, according to RelishMix, reached 461.6 million people across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, reaching levels higher than other superhero movies in the market. Lexus is at the top of Disney’s promotional partners, teaming up with Marvel after 2018’s Black Panther as Marvel Studio’s exclusive automotive partner.

The Lexus partnership with character-inspired cars allowed for the integration of the two brands in a way that adds value for both companies (Photo courtesy of Motortrend)

In October, Lexus debuted the marketing campaign “Parking Spot,” directed by Avengers filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo and featuring Eternals star Kumail Nanjiani, who plays the god Kingo in the film. Kingo drives the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance in the commercial, armed with a 472 horsepower V8 engine. The Lexus LS 500 flagship sedan and the all-new NX luxury crossover also have cameos in the feature film. Hamilton commented that Marvel partnerships deliver fan engagement. “That leads to brand love, and it leads to sales. It’s the custom storytelling or ‘story living.’ With our partnerships, they know we commit to telling the brand story through a Marvel Studios lens,” adds Hamilton. The campaign also included a curated set of ten wrapped Lexus cars that drove down Hollywood Boulevard at the Eternals premiere. Lexus’ partnership also extends to its title sponsorship of the Esports Awards and a clothing activation with 100 Thieves, an online shopping site with roots in gaming. Even after the release of Avengers: Endgame that retired many superheroes, the Marvel franchise continues to deliver new stories that drive value for Disney and its partnering brands.


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