“Morbius,” Sony’s latest entry in its own cinematic universe of Marvel characters, made $5.7 million in its Thursday box office previews that began at 4 p.m. from 3,583 locations. It opens on roughly 4,200 locations this weekend and is available on IMAX and PLF screens.
“Morbius” stars Jared Leto, and the studio is hoping that his character can add to the success both “Venom” movies have seen, as well as lead into a larger universe of antihero characters that includes the upcoming “Kraven the Hunter” and “Madame Web” films.
The studio is projecting that “Morbius” will make $33 million in its opening weekend against a $75 million budget. Independent trackers think it could go beyond that in its opening, perhaps in the $40-44 million range that Sony’s last blockbuster “Uncharted” hit earlier this year. But the film has been saddled with some negative early reactions and a dismal 15% Rotten Tomatoes score, begging the question whether it will have legs past its opening weekend. “Morbius” also had its release date bumped back several times amid the pandemic after undergoing several rounds of marketing, with the film originally scheduled for as far back as July 2020.
One comparison is Warner Bros.’ own antihero movie “Birds of Prey” from February 2020. That R-rated film made $4 million in its Thursday previews and opened to exactly $33 million before legging out to $84 million domestically. Though the first “Venom” film from October 2018 set a then-record at the Thursday box office by bringing in $10 million, and it went on to a stellar $80.2 million start.
Jared Leto in “Morbius” (which is rated PG-13) plays the enigmatic antihero Michael Morbius — a brilliant doctor with dark urges and unique powers. The film follows how he tries to cure himself from a rare blood disease but inadvertently infects himself with a form of vampirism instead.
It’s the first time the character has been depicted on the big screen, and the film is a standalone origin story but with a nod to the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel characters. Daniel Espinosa directs “Morbius,” and the film also stars Michael Keaton, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Matt Smith and Tyrese Gibson.