Sony’s Morbius is playing more like a horror movie: All the fans came out on Thursday night and Friday, with Saturday taking a 25% hit for a now $39.1M result. The pic’s worldwide start stands at $84M.
This is a glass half-full scenario right now at the box office. Considering their hardships during the pandemic, exhibition can’t be upset with this opening. Not only is it on an exclusive theatrical window from Sony, Morbius‘ start here is higher than last weekend’s The Lost City ($30.4M), and part of April’s back-to-back tentpole machine leading into May 6’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
At the same time, we’ve seen better from Sony’s own handling of Marvel. Look, no one was expecting this movie to be Ant-Man in regards to its caliber. It was buzzed all throughout the pandemic by distribution and exhibition sources that Morbius wasn’t exactly up to snuff, and clearly the C+ CinemaScore and 2 1/2 star word of mouth of it all seeped in over the weekend.
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). Twenty-three percent told PostTrak the movie was below their expectations, while 18% said that it exceeded their expectations, and 60% said it met their expectations.
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.
In regards to franchise building, I think Sony’s intent is to simply exploit the Marvel characters in its arsenal (they apparently have access to 900), many of them supporting characters or villains in the Spider-Man universe. Can’t fault any studio sitting on a prized asset with those business maneuvers, and credit to Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairperson Tom Rothman and Sony Motion Picture Group President Sanford Panitch for rolling the dice on a deeper universe Marvel anti-hero. It’s likely we’ll see Morbius costarring in another Sony Marvel movie, versus a sequel. It would be hard to make a sequel to Morbius: Even if the reviews on part 2 are through the roof, it’s very hard, business-wise, to convince the audience of that, and bring them back.
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. Remember, even the worst-received theatrical titles find a home audience; and being on a cinema marquee is the best and biggest form of advertisement for any movie, versus getting lost on a streaming queue.
Imax accounted for $3M of Morbius‘ business from 400 auditoriums in the US/Canada. Men over 25 were the most dominant at 35% (59% grade), followed by men under 25 at 27% (59%), women over 25 at 23% (best grade for the Leto movie at 72%), and women under 25 at 15% (65%). EntTelligence reports that 3M people watched Morbius this weekend, with 26% of the audience arrive after 8 PM on Saturday, which is very similar to The Batman, which grabbed 27% of it’s first Saturday’s attendance during the night-time hours.
1.) Morbius (Sony) 4,268 theaters, Fri $17.3M, Sat $13.2M, Sun $8.6M, 3-day $39.1M/Wk 1
2.) The Lost City (Par) 4,253 theater Fri. $4.3M (-63%), Sat $6.3M, Sun $4.1M, 3-day $14.8M (-51%)/Total $54.5M/ Wk 2
3.) The Batman(WB) 3,732 (-235) theaters Fri $3.1M (-44%), Sat $4.8M, Sun $2.9M, 3-day: $10.8M (-47%) Total $349M/Wk 5
The Matt Reeves is clicking past $700M today. Theatrical is alive.
4.) Uncharted (Sony) 3,064 (-352) theaters, Fri $1M (-23%), Sat $1.6M, Sun $950K, 3-day $3.6M (-27%)/Total $138.9M/Wk 7
5.) Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (Crunchy) 2,070 (-401) theaters, Fri $564K (-57%), Sat $824K, Sun $582K, 3-day $1.97M (-57%) /Total $31.3M/ Wk 3
6.) RRR (Sarigama Cinemas) 1,200 theaters, Fri $442K (-92%), Sat $710K, Sun $461K, 3-day $1.6M (-83%)/Total $12.3M/Wk 2
7) Spider-Man: No Way Home (Sony) 1,705 (-298) theaters, Fri $375K, Sat $650K, Sun $375K, 3-day $1.4M (-29%)/Total $802.7M/Wk 16
8.) Dog (UAR) 2,053 (-786) theaters, Fri $360K (-38%), Sat $599K, Sun $360K, 3-day $1.31M (-38%)/Total $60.1M/Wk 7
9.) X (A24) 1,799 (-1,121) theaters, Fri $331,55K (-54%), Sat $418,3K, Sun $271,9K, 3-day $1.02M (-52%)/Total $10.39M/ Wk 3