NEW YORK — Sony Pictures’ Marvel adaptation of Morbius garnered poor reviews but still made $39.1 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.
That was enough to hand “Morbius,” starring Jared Leto as a mutant vampire biochemist, to number one at the box office — even though it was an uncharacteristically low debut for a Marvel movie. Sony’s last movie to release a Marvel character, 2018’s Venom, opened in 2018 with a doubling of ticket sales.
But “Morbius” also received unusually poor reviews for the Marvel version. On Rotten Tomatoes, it easily had the worst Marvel movie score with a new 17%. “Venom” (30%) was not well received by critics either. But given expectations were closer to $50 million in “Morbius”‘s opening weekend, it’s possible that bad word of mouth and worse reviews have lowered its receipts.
“This is a poor start to Marvel’s exceptional standard of releasing a new superhero series,” said David Gross, who runs consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “The weekend number is well below average for a Marvel first episode, and below average compared to a new DC Comics series as well.”
However, the film “Morbius”, which was delayed several times due to the epidemic, was allocated a rather modest budget for a comic, the production of which cost 75 million dollars. Audiences also gave it a low score – C+ from CinemaScore – although moviegoers still liked it more than critics. The audience score from Rotten Tomatoes for the film directed by Daniel Espinosa was new at 69%.
Overseas, “Morbius” brought in $44.9 million over the weekend, versus $84 million in global money.
However, it will be difficult for “Morbius” to come close to Sony’s recent successes at Marvel. The last two films were big box office hits: “Spider-Man: No Way Home” grossed nearly $1.9 billion worldwide, while “Venom 2” last year grossed $502 million worldwide.
Last week’s best movie, Sandra Bullock’s Channing Tatum rom-com adventure “The Lost City,” slipped to second place with $14.8 million in its second week. With a total of $54.6 million for two weeks, “The Lost City” performs significantly better than other recent entries in the genre.
After the Oscars, Apple put the award-winning “CODA” movie in more than 500 theaters. The movie, which premiered on Apple TV+ last August, became the first movie ever from the streaming service to win top Hollywood rankings. Apple didn’t share ticket sales numbers on Sunday, making “CODA” the first best picture winner without a US box office hit.
Also working against the movie “Morbius”: the box office is getting busier. While there are no new wide releases against Sony’s release this weekend, the coming weeks will bring “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”, “Ambulance” and “Fantastic Beasts: The Secret of Dumbledore” releases. The next Marvel movie, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” comes from Walt Disney Pictures on May 6.
Estimated ticket sales Friday through Sunday in US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final local numbers will be published on Monday.
1. “Morbius” $39.1 million.
2. “The Lost City” $14.8 million.
3. The movie “Batman” $10.8 million.
4. “Uncharted” $3.6 million.
5. “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” $1.9 million.
6. “RRR” $1.6 million.
7. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” $1.4 million.
8. “Dog” $1.3 million.
9. “X” $1 million.
10. “Everything Everywhere at Once” $1 million.