“Morbius” opened first at the domestic box office, although ticket sales were considerably lower than recent superhero blockbusters, according to Reuters.
Hit by comically terrible reviews, “Morbius” grossed $39.1 million from 4,268 North American theaters in its opening weekend. That initial tally is both a sign that audiences really do love comic book movies (in a time of pandemic, a non-superhero movie with a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes would have no chance at the box office) and an indication that not every superhuman character will be received equally on the big screen. (The origin story of Sony’s 2018 anti-hero “Venom” was similarly criticized, but still managed to score at the domestic box office with $80 million to start and $213 million in total.)
“Morbius” grossed $44.9 million at the international box office, bringing its worldwide total to $84 million. Like many Hollywood movies, it is unclear whether “Morbius” will have a Chinese release date.
Sony spent $75 million to produce the vampire-infused “Morbius,” which is less than what studios typically pay for superhero blockbusters. Marketing and other promotional costs added many millions more to the expenses. Since Morbius the Living Vampire is not as well known as Spider-Man, Batman, or even Venom, who was introduced to the general public in Tobey Maguire’s “Spider-Man 3” and later played by Tom Hardy in the standalone films, the film Industry analysts did not expect “Morbius” to break box office records.
Still, Sony has a lot riding on “Morbius,” which stars Jared Leto as Michael Morbius, a renowned biochemist who becomes a deadly vampire after trying to cure himself of a rare blood disease. The studio scored big with “Spider-Man: No Way Home” ($1.88 billion at the worldwide box office) and successfully turned “Venom” into movie gold (the first film earned $856 million worldwide and the sequel 2021’s “Let There Be Carnage” earned $501 million at the worldwide box office). But Sony has bigger plans to create a viable rival to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a regular showing of “Morbius” indicates that for audiences to go to theaters, these movies actually need to be seen. Following “Morbius,” Sony’s Universe of Marvel characters continues with standalone stories on “Kraven the Hunter,” starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and “Madame Web,” starring Dakota Johnson.
Daniel Espinosa directed “Morbius,” with a cast that includes Adria Arjona, Matt Smith, Jared Harris and Michael Keaton, reprising his role from previous “Spider-Man” movies.
Given the muted reception from critics and moviegoers (it earned a “C+ CinemaScore”), box office experts don’t expect “Morbius” to have a fruitful life on the big screen. “The Hedgehog 2” (April 8) and “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” (April 15) opens in theaters.
“This is a weak opening to Marvel’s exceptional standard for launching a new superhero series,” said David A. Gross, who runs the film consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. He added, “Marvel movies generally get very good reviews; reviews here are unusually bad.”
A distant second, Paramount’s action-adventure film “The Lost City” grossed $14.8 million from 4,283 venues in its second weekend of release. So far, the wacky romantic comedy, starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, has grossed $54.5 million at the domestic box office. Given that the film cost $68 million, “The Lost City” is not yet a commercial winner. However, it’s a promising sign that cute encounters haven’t entirely fallen out of favor with moviegoers.
Another comic book bestseller, “The Batman” with Robert Pattinson, came in third place with $10.8 million from 3,732 theaters. After five weeks on the big screen, the Warner Bros. film has grossed $349 million at the domestic box office. “The Batman” has continued to be a force worldwide, topping $700 million over the weekend. The worldwide total for the film now stands at a whopping $710.5 million.
For the second weekend in a row, Tom Holland’s video game adaptation “Uncharted” and Crunchyroll’s manga adaptation “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie” ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, on the box office charts.
“Uncharted” grossed $3.6 million from 3,064 theaters, taking its North American tally to $138.9 million. Overseas, the $120 million budget tent added $5.5 million from 55 markets. That brings the “Uncharted” tally to $234 million internationally and $373 million globally.
An unexpected box office champion, the anime film “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” earned $1.9 million from 2,070 screens in its third weekend in theaters. To date, the film has grossed $31 million.