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 Marvel character release movie, “Venom” of 2018, 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 at 17 percent. “Venom” (30 percent) was also not a hit with critics. But given that forecasts ranged closer to $50 million in Morbius’ opening weekend, it’s possible that poor word of mouth and worse reviews have dented its receipts.
“This is a poor start to Marvel’s exceptional benchmark for a new superhero series,” said David A. 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 percent.
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 a streaming service to earn Hollywood top spot. Apple did not 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,” is coming from Walt Disney Pictures on May 6.
Estimated ticket sales are for Friday through Sunday in US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore.
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
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