Morbius Falls Below Expectations for a Marvel Film with $39 Million Domestic Opening

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Image: Sony Pictures

Sony executives might be wondering whether they should have left Morbius locked up in a coffin, as the box office performance of the new movie starring Jared Leto, who stars as the titular vampire, has been somewhat disappointing, especially for a Marvel film.

Tracking had indicated that Morbius was set to make as much as $50 million domestically, but the movie has only earned $39 million so far in the States, with global profits standing at $84 million. Attendance for the film had reportedly dropped by 25% on Saturday, just two days after its premiere.

Although Sony was conservative with its own estimates, these numbers are pretty lame in comparison to what previous Marvel properties were able to capture with their premieres. The first Venom film that introduced Tom Hardy as the alien symbiote, for instance, managed to score $80 million when it launched at the domestic box office in 2018.

Morbius’ critical reception certainly didn’t help in getting more people in the seats. Rotten Tomatoes has nearly 200 reviews counted for the film, but the majority are so negative that it only has a 17% on the Tomatometer. Morbius has been described as “uninspired” and “nonsensical” by at least one reviewer.

‘Morbius’ Shaves Teeth To $39M+ Opening – Sunday AM Box Office Update (Deadline)

Heading into Friday, tracking had been wild about this movie, projecting $40M-$50M stateside. Morbius‘ results this weekend will at least reset some box office diagnostic firms to not shoot for the moon. While the 18-34 bunch have shown a rabid appetite to return to cinemas as the pandemic eases, particularly to comic book movies, at the end of the day, box office market forces haven’t changed: Unfortunately, you can’t overperform on a poorly reviewed and audience-received movie (that was something in the ’90s and the early aughts, which was very feasible to do).

In all fairness to Sony, they saw Morbius at $38M Saturday morning; everyone else had it higher. Sony’s own estimate heading into the weekend was a low $33M.

On the upside for Sony, they’ll have the benefit of steering Morbius through a theatrical window/ancillary model. Sony also kept the budget low here at a reported $75M net (some have even told me $83M); not the standard $100M-$200M+ associated with other Marvel movies. The pay deals with Netflix and Disney+, plus International territory deals, are poised to make Morbius profitable, according to one film finance source this morning.

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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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