Sony and Marvel’s Morbius has become an internet meme over the last few weeks, and for the most part, they’re hilarious. Seeing this, Sony came to the conclusion of re-releasing the Jared Leto film this weekend in the hopes that all the internet goofs would translate to a bigger box office haul. And if you were among those wondering if the joke had gone too far and we’d irony’d ourselves into a Morbius 2, somehow, let this serve as good news to allay your fears.
To be quite blunt about it: the movie bombed hard on its first day back at the cinemas. According to Forbes’ Scott Mendelson, Morbius’ Friday returns only came to a meager $US85,000 ($117,997), leading to an overall $US73.6 ($102) million domestic take home. Saturday’s earnings have yet to be revealed at time of writing, but the odds aren’t exactly in its favour. All those jokes were merely about the idea of Morbius rather than the film itself, something that Sony learned the hard way. Their attempt to get in on the joke didn’t just backfire, it exploded in such a way that even Michael Bay found himself impressed by the sheer, stupid spectacle of it all.
The thing about Morbius and its rise to a meme is that it all took off because no one had much faith in the film to begin with. We’re all actively aware that Sony’s basically throwing darts at a wall to figure out what people want to see with Spider-Man’s supporting cast, a roster that’s basically kneecapped from the jump because they inevitably have to brush shoulders or acknowledge the teenage webhead in question. Tom Hardy’s Venom movies have enough going on to make you temporarily forget he could ever try to devour Tom Holland’s Spidey, but that’s only because the comics have spent years giving the character his own weird, gooey mythology in the hopes of giving future films enough material to avoid having to strike a deal with Holland’s agent. Meanwhile, other characters such as Morbius, Kraven, and Madame Web have yet to be afforded a real, consistent opportunity to distance themselves from the amazing arachnid in the source material.
Yes, Sony lucked out extremely well with Venom and Miles Morales’ Spider-Verse films, but both of those characters already had strong, built-in fanbases to begin with, to say nothing of what each of their respective films set out to accomplish. The Spider-Verse movies have a unique animation style and a genuine earnestness that puts just about all other superhero content to shame, and Venom has Tom Hardy talking to himself and getting beaten around by a passive aggressive goo monster. Morbius has neither, and it couldn’t even make the most of its lead actor being a musician. Say whatever you want about Venom, at least it managed to summon a cheesy song to play over the end titles that later winds up on you Spotify for longer than you’d care to admit.
RIP in Morbius, Morbius. You died as you lived, as a joke who realised too late that you yourself were the punchline.
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