By JAKE COYLE, AP Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Sony Pictures’ Marvel adaptation “Morbius” landed to dismal reviews but still managed to debut with $39.1 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
That was enough to easily give “Morbius,” starring Jared Leto as a biochemist turning vampires, the top spot at the box office – even though it was an unusually low debut for a Marvel movie. Sony’s latest movie to debut a Marvel character, 2018’s “Venom,” opened in 2018 to double in ticket sales.
But “Morbius” also drew unusually bad reviews for a Marvel release. On Rotten Tomatoes, it easily sits with the worst score for a Marvel movie at 17% fresh. “Venom” (30%) wasn’t a hit with critics either, but given that predictions were edging closer to a $50 million opening weekend for “Morbius,” the bad mouth- by ear and the worst reviews have probably reduced its receipts.
“This is a small opening by Marvel’s exceptional standard for launching a new superhero series,” said David A. Gross, who heads consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “The weekend figure is well below average for a Marvel first installment, and below average for a new DC Comics series as well.
Still, “Morbius,” repeatedly delayed by the pandemic, was budgeted somewhat modestly for a comic book movie, costing $75 million to produce. Audiences also gave it a low rating — C+ from CinemaScore — though moviegoers still seemed to like it more Rotten Tomatoes’ audience score for the Daniel Espinosa-directed film is 69% fresh.
Overseas, “Morbius” grossed $44.9 million over the weekend, for a worldwide haul of $84 million.
Still, it will be hard for “Morbius” to come close to Sony’s recent Marvel hits. The latter two were box office hits: ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ grossed nearly $1.9 billion worldwide, while last year’s ‘Venom 2’ grossed 502 million dollars in the world.
Last week’s top movie, the Sandra Bullock-Channing Tatum rom-com adventure “The Lost City,” slipped to second place with $14.8 million in its second week. With a two-week total of $54.6 million, “The Lost City” fared much better than other recent entries in the genre.
After the Oscars, Apple presented the best movie “CODA” in more than 500 theaters. The film, which debuted on Apple TV+ last August, became the first movie from a streaming service to win Hollywood’s top honor. Apple did not share ticket sales figures on Sunday, making “CODA” the first Best Picture winner with no recorded U.S. box office.
Also works against “Morbius”: The box office is getting busier and busier. While no new wide releases bumped into Sony’s release this weekend, the coming weeks will bring the releases of “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”, “Ambulance” and “Fantastic Beasts: The Secret of Dumbledore”. The next Marvel movie, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” will be released from The Walt Disney Co. on May 6.
Estimated Friday-Sunday ticket sales at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final national figures will be released on Monday.
1. “Morbius,” $39.1 million.
2. “The Lost City,” $14.8 million.
3. “The Batman,” $10.8 million.
4. “Uncharted,” $3.6 million.
5. “Jujutsu Kaisen 0”, $1.9 million.
6. “RRR”, $1.6 million.
7. “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” $1.4 million.
8. “Dog,” $1.3 million.
10. “Everything, everywhere, all at once”, 1 million dollars.
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