Jared Leto’s upcoming “Morbius” has been bumped from its release this month and will now be released in April amid the Omicron surge, Sony Pictures announced on Monday.
Sony’s film based on a Marvel character now set to open on April 1. The film was initially set to open on Jan. 28, but has been pushed back as the record-breaking surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant is expected to decrease customer confidence and interest in moviegoing in the coming weeks.
While Sony has provided a huge holiday boost for theaters with “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which has grossed over $600 million domestically and $1.3 billion worldwide, the next two months are shaping up to be very sluggish for the box office. At the moment, the few major studio releases still set for January and February include Paramount’s “Scream” and “Jackass Forever,” which are respectively set for release on January 14 and February 4, and 20th Century’s “Death on the Nile” on February 11.
As for “Morbius,” this is the sixth time that the Marvel film has been moved since initially vacating its July 2020 release slate. Sony previously set the film for release in April and October 2021, but moved it back to 2022 amidst COVID complications and a crowded autumn release slate, including Sony’s own fall hit “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.”
“Morbius” is now set for release one month after Warner Bros.’ “The Batman” and one month prior to Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness,” giving the film time to leg out among comic book movie fans. Other films set for release on April 1 include Universal’s “Easter Sunday” and STXfilms’ “The Contractor.”
Leto in the film is a pseudo-vampire named Michael Morbius who has an “overpowering urge to consume blood” after he tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease. “Morbius” will be connected to other films based on “Spider-Man” villains that Sony has the film rights to from a deal that predates Disney’s acquisition of Marvel.
Daniel Espinosa is directing with a cast that also includes Tyrese Gibson, Matt Smith and Jared Harris. Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless wrote the screenplay based on the characters by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane for Marvel Comics.