Spidey Spin-Off ‘Morbius’ Sinks Its Teeth Into A So-So $39.1 Million Opening Weekend But Still Snags Top Spot
All comic-book characters are not created equal. At least when it comes to their drawing power at the box office. While Morbius, the latest big-screen origin story to spring from Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (think Venom but with vampire-bat DNA), did manage to open in the top spot over the weekend, its surprisingly soft $39 million debut hardly qualifies it is a blockbuster, no doubt leading to some nervous suits at the studio who had dreamed of creating a menagerie of secondary supervillains and ancillary anti-heroes to challenge Disney’s MCU—or at least become the Pepsi to its Coke. Originally slated for release back in July 2020 before the pandemic delayed its launch, the film which stars Jared Leto as Michael Morbius, a scientist who attempts to cure his own rare blood disease by injecting himself with vampire bat DNA only to see it turn him into a living vampire, was clobbered by critics (who tarred the $75-million title with a 17% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (who gave it a woeful C+ CinemaScore grade). In its freshman weekend, the PG-13-rated title earned a $9,161 per-screen average at 4,268 locations. It fared only slightly better overseas, where it pulled in $44.9 million in its opening weekend, putting its cumulative worldwide box office at $84 million.

Sony certainly had hopes that Morbius’ arrival so quickly on the heels of its billion-dollar cash cow, Spider-Man: No Way Home, would lure still-hungry ticket buyers to the multiplex. But despite its first-place finish, Morbius’ numbers remain a bit of a disappointment despite its relatively modest $75 million budget. They’re even more disappointing when you compare them to the previous Spideyworld spin-offs, Venom, which debuted to $80.3 million in 2018, and its sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which bowed to $90 million last October. The studio now has to be on pins and needles as it moves forward with its other in-the-works Spidey-adjacent titles: Kraven the Hunter (starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Madame Web (featuring Dakota Johnson).

Meanwhile, finishing in the runner-up spot was last week’s champ, The Lost City. Paramount’s rom-com jungle action-adventure starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum took in $14.8 million in its sophomore frame, a decline of -51.4% from the previous session. The PG-13-rated film scored a $3,455 per-screen average in 4,283 theaters. Overseas, where The Lost City will not get a full roll-out until April 15, it has taken in $7 million to date, bringing its two-week global haul to $61.6 million.

Landing in third place this week was The Batman with $10.8 million. In its fifth frame in theaters, Warner Bros.’ latest Dark Knight chapter slipped -47.2% from the prior weekend, managing a $2,893 per-screen average in 3,732 theaters. The PG-13-rated superhero epic featuring Robert Pattinson under the cape and cowl, has raked in $349 million in North America so far. The Batman continued to clean up overseas as well, pulling in $361.5 million internationally to date. The film’s five-week global cume now sits at $710.5 million and counting.

In fourth place was Sony’s videogame adaptation Uncharted with $3.6 million. The PG-13-rated action-adventure starring Tom Holland dipped just -27.9% in its seventh weekend, earning a $1,176 per-screen average in 3,064 theaters. Uncharted has pulled in $138.9 million at the domestic box office so far and an even more impressive $234.2 million internationally. Its combined worldwide gross is now a whopping $373.1 million, making a strong case that, at just 25 years old, Spider-Man star Holland has become a bona fide global box-office draw, in or out of spandex.

Rounding out the top five was FUNimation/Crunchyroll’s anime adventure Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie with just under $2 million. In its third weekend in theaters, the PG-13-rated title about a cursed spirit and a high school for sorcery dropped -57% from the prior frame, earning a $951 per-screen average at 2,070 locations. Jujutsu has racked up $29.7 million in North America to date and a staggering $119.4 million abroad, putting the sleeper’s combined global haul at $149.1 million.

While there were no other major new arrivals over the weekend, the closest that any limited-release title got to sniffing distance of the top five was STX Entertainment’s thriller The Contractor, which debuted in twelfth place with $535,000 in 489 theaters. The R-rated film, which stars Chris Pine as a desperate ex-Special Forces soldier who gets swept up in some shady private-contracting shenaningans, was as much a non-event with reviewers as it was with ticket buyers, earning a 43% green splat from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.