“Morbius,” Sony’s latest attempt to extend its cinematic universe of Spider-Man villains and heroes, opened to a healthy $5.7 million in Thursday previews.
The $75 million superhero film is on track to pull in $40 million in its first weekend of release. It’s a sign of just how much moviegoers love comic book fare, even in these pandemic times. However, bad reviews may take a bite out of “Morbius’s” box office haul and it remains to be seen if critics will prove to be as lethal to bloodsuckers as garlic and wooden stakes.
A lot is riding on “Morbius’s” success. Sony scored a blockbuster smash with “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and its $1.9 billion global gross, and it has also managed to spin off Venom, another Spidey adversary, into a standalone franchise. But the characters that Sony licenses from Marvel extend beyond Peter Parker and the befanged symbiote. After “Morbius,” Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters is chugging along with standalone stories on “Kraven the Hunter,” starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and “Madame Web,” featuring Dakota Johnson. Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when there’s money to be caught in it.
“Morbius” features Jared Leto as Michael Morbius, a doctor with a rare blood disorder whose desperate gamble to find a cure transforms him into a living vampire. Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House”) directs a cast that also includes Adria Arjona, Matt Smith, Jared Harris and Michael Keaton, reprising his role from previous Spider-Man films.
Critics savaged the film, handing it a bloodless 15% “rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman also didn’t seem to be too excited about the prospect of more Morbius sequels and spinoffs.
“‘Morbius’ is more like a paycheck movie: time for Leto to punch the clock and get on the comic-book train,” Gleiberman wrote. “But this reluctant vampire has so little flavor that he’s closer to the invisible man.”