Sony played the lowball game again this week, bracing themselves for the negative reviews that were to come of their latest Spider-Man-adjacent Marvel antihero movie. They likely figured that Venom numbers were not in the works for the five-time delayed Morbius, but they were probably at least hoping it was going to open stronger than Uncharted. Ultimately a split occurred, as the studio set their expectations at $33 million but got the film up into the next tier. Now let’s see if its core audience will be kinder with their word-of-mouth than critics were.
(Photo by ©Sony Pictures Releasing)
Sony may be happy just to finally have Morbius out in theaters, but all of its numbers come in on the low side of everything associated with Marvel. The $39 million opening weekend for the Jared Leto comic book adversary is lower than Nicolas Cage donning the Ghost Rider skull ($45.3 million) in 2007, which was before the official kickoff of the MCU with Iron Man a year later. And though it may be higher than the opening for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ($35.3 million), it does not mean we are going to see it stretch out to $190 million. Ben Affleck’s Daredevil just barely got over the $100 million mark with a $40.3 million start in 2003, something that none of the Blade movies had achieved. Even with reshoots, Morbius’ budget is only in the vicinity of $100 million, so with some decent international returns (it has made nearly an additional $45 million overseas so far) this will not be held up as a financial disaster. With critics, however, it’s another story.
Whatever you want to say about critics being tired of comic book movies, the consensus ratio of well-reviewed movies to not-so-well-reviewed movies quite high. Just look directly at the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which only recently got its first Rotten film to date with Eternals (48%) in November. It took 13 years for approved critics at this site to finally deliver a negative consensus. Prior to that, Thor: The Dark World held the lowest Tomatometer rating of the MCU, at 66%. If we broaden the scope to every Marvel-related entity, then the list is now as follows: 2015’s Fantastic Four (9%), Elektra (10%), Howard the Duck (14%), Morbius (17%), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (18%), Blade: Trinity (25%), Ghost Rider (26%), 2005’s Fantastic Four (28%), Punisher: War Zone (29%), The Punisher (29%), and Venom (30%). Sony now has made four films on that list.
(Photo by ©Paramount Pictures)
The Chris Pine action film The Contractor snuck into theaters this weekend after sitting on the shelf for over two years (it began filming in October 2019). The film underwent a name change (from Violence of Action), a release date shift from last November, and its studio STX putting it into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Paramount picked up rights to the film and released it into 489 theaters while it streams on VOD for a $19.95 price. The result was a mere $535,000 tally for a per-theater-average of $1,073 in 12th place.
(Photo by Kimberley French/©Paramount Pictures)
Last week’s #1 film, The Lost City, fell 52% down to $14.8 million this weekend. The optimistic side of reaching over $54 million in 10 days is that it is currently right in line with where Olympus Has Fallen was in 2013 with a $54.8 million haul after a $14.1 million second weekend. That film ended up just shy of $99 million. However, it would also take a pair of 28% or better drops in the next two weeks for The Lost City to maintain that pace, starting with another $10 million next weekend, even with families checking out Sonic the Hedghog 2 and action fans looking to Michael Bay’s Ambulance. $80 million is still the floor for this one and $90-95 million may be the ceiling. Either number is great for theaters hoping not to have to rely solely on big IP titles.
Credit to Gitesh Pandya of Box Office Guru for the statistic that it has been 31 straight weeks with a comic book film in the top five at the box office. Morbius should keep that going for at least another two weeks, but is likely to be broken in the back half of this month. That is, unless The Batman finds a second wind and outlasts some of the upcoming premieres. Matt Reeves’ film, which has now crossed $700 million worldwide, finds its total domestic gross between Spider-Man: Far From Home and Wonder Woman after 31 days of release. The latter was not as frontloaded and the former was down to $7.9 million on its fourth weekend. The Batman’s $10.8 million weekend provides hope that it will just get itself over $400 million, but it should at least best Far From Home’s $390 million, even if it doesn’t quite make it to Wonder Woman’s $412 million. The current Spider-Man: No Way Home, meanwhile, added another $1.4 million to bring its domestic total over $802 million.
(Photo by Clay Enos/©Sony Pictures)
Sony also continues to see a nice return on Uncharted. It is going to pass $140 million this week and may try to chart a course towards $150 million. It has grossed over $373 million worldwide. Its Feb. 18 release partner, Dog, has passed $60 million, giving Channing Tatum two of the only original films since March 2020 to gross more than $50 million. A24 also has a pair of movies in the top 10: Ti West’s X hung on to pass $10 million, and the Daniels’ new film Everything Everywhere All At Once had a minor expansion this week into 38 theaters and grossed over a million to bring its total to $1.7 million before it expands nationwide next week.
Finally, the anime Jujutsu Kaisen 0 remains in the top five, though it dropped another 57% down to $1.97 million. That brings its total up to $29.7 million, putting it just below 2019’s Dragon Ball Super: Broly, which finished with $30.7 million. Jujutsu fell much faster than last year’s Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train, putting its $45.9 million total out of reach. Last week’s big Indian epic, RRR, also fell fast this week, 83% down to just $1.6 million, for a total of $11.1 million.
(Photo by Paramount Pictures)
There is a little something for everyone next week. Paramount hopes to continue its 2022 streak of successes with Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The original finished just shy of $150 million in early 2020 before its run was interrupted by the pandemic less than a month after release. Michael Bay puts his first film in theaters in five years with the Jake Gyllenhaal/Yahya Abdul-Mateen II action thriller Ambulance, as Universal hopes to get its first success of the year. Lastly, another reminder that A24 expands Everything Everywhere All At Once next week. Its 97% Tomatometer score will make it the best-reviewed wide release of the year to date.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]