How the Meh Opening for ‘Morbius’ Will – or Won’t – Impact Sony’s Marvel Spinoff Plans

In an era of cinematic universes, Jared Leto’s antihero film lives in its own world

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Sony’s “Morbius” is shaping up to be neither a big box office hit or a major bomb after its $39 million opening weekend; but either way, the coming weeks for Jared Leto’s comic book vampire film likely won’t have any major ramifications for Sony’s plans with Marvel.

Though “Morbius” was one of many films delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it faces a much lower break-even point than its Marvel brethren with a reported budget of $75 million. With $84 million grossed worldwide this weekend, it’s in position to become slightly profitable.

“You can’t hit a ‘Spider-Man’ home run every time you come up to bat. Sometimes, singles or doubles are fine,” Boxoffice editor Daniel Loria said. “‘Morbius’ was a single. It did what it was supposed to do by engaging a fan base at a lower budget level than films with better known characters like ‘Venom.'”

But with a C+ on CinemaScore and mediocre marks from moviegoers on Postrak and Rotten Tomatoes, it’s likely that “Morbius” will have a similar box office trajectory to many tepidly received horror films, suffering a large drop as non-hardcore audiences skip the film in favor of upcoming titles like “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and “Fantastic Beasts 3.”

In an era where every comic book movie is expected to have some connection to a future title — be it a sequel, spinoff or cinematic universe — a failed attempt to introduce a lesser-known character to a wider audience could raise questions about whether a studio’s long-term franchise plans may be altered. “Morbius” hinted at such plans to introduce its vampiric protagonist to other Marvel characters with a post-credit scene that teases a team-up with “Spider-Man: Homecoming” villain Adrian “Vulture” Toomes, played by Michael Keaton.

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • • Twitter: @jeremyfuster