Morbius Flops at Box Office Again, Even After Torrent of Memes

Morbius flopped again at the box office after being re-released in theaters by Sony. It was initially supposed to come out back in 2020 before COVID ended up delaying the release for two years. When the movie did finally arrive, it received overwhelmingly negative reviews, although Matt Smith’s performance as the main villain received some praise and only grossed $163 million worldwide.

You could say that the one area where Morbius succeeded was in internet memes, following a cascade of jokes poking fun at the Marvel bomb. One particular meme was a Power Rangers-inspired parody called “Morbin’ Time,” which even caught the eye of star Jared Leto, who made his own joke video in response. This internet activity prompted Sony to re-release the film.

MOVIEWEB VIDEO OF THE DAY

Various theories have been put forth on other news sites such as Screen Rant and Forbes over why Sony would decide to re-release something that was by all indications a flop. Believe the meme-related hype would translate into box office action finally, look like a good sport by reacting to fans’ memes in a fun manner, misunderstanding how internet memes work, and playing along to give theaters something “new” to play on a dead weekend, or to keep Leto’s new anti-hero in the news cycle (which has succeeded).

Whatever the reason, in the end, the Morbius re-release earned just $300,000 on 1,037 screens. For comparison, Top Gun: Maverick, the box office winner, took in $86 million during its second weekend. It seems as though Sony only succeeded in reminding people that the movie isn’t very good. It also proved that there’s a big difference between people wanting to make fun of a movie online and wanting to see it in theaters on the big screen.

The Bigger Picture

Though by all indications, the failure of Morbius doesn’t seem to have halted Sony’s plans for continuing to build their Spider-Man Cinematic Universe, which was all started by the wild success of Venom at the box office. Morbius sets up a possible Sinister Six movie by having Michael Keaton’s Vulture show up for not one but two mid-cred sequences that make no sense.

Kraven the Hunter, starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ariana DeBose, another likely Sinister Six lead-in, will be released in 2023. A Madame Web movie starring Dakota Johnson in the title role is supposedly going forward. And of course, there’s Venom 3, which was confirmed at CinemaCon in April 2022. With so many movies moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see if they become box office successes. And if they do, whether they’ll have the critical reception to match.

It has thus been unannounced whether or not there will be a Morbius 2, even if it’s not subtitled “Morbin’ Time.” Though that certainly seems unlikely at this point. However, it is still possible for Leto to appear as the character in a supporting role in any of the films mentioned above. Stranger things have happened, like Keaton showing up despite originating in a different Marvel universe.