Box Office Breakdown: ‘Morbius’ takes a bite out of ‘The Lost City’

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Even with poor critical reception, “Morbius” has opened at no. 1 domestically. With a $39.1 million opening weekend, the film has launched respectably considering its reported $75 million budget. However, superhero movies are almost always frontloaded, and considering upcoming competition and its incredibly poor critical and audience reception, the time on top for “Morbius” is dwindling fast. Next week brings the release of two films, action thriller “Ambulance” and historical biopic “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” (just kidding, it’s an action-adventure comedy), which will surely deplete the film’s total. Add that to the facts that the film has a sub-20% score on Rotten Tomatoes and earned a dismal CinemaScore of C+, and it is not likely “Morbius” will garner any word-of-mouth ticket purchases next weekend. With a reported $75 million budget (though many prognosticators believe this is too low a total, considering the film was held from release a number of times due to the pandemic) the movie likely needs to gross about $280 million or more worldwide to come close to breaking even. It’s not impossible, but I expect an extremely steep drop-off for “Morbius” next weekend. 

In second place this week is last week’s no. 1, “The Lost City.” With a 51.4% drop, the adventure comedy grossed $14.8 million to push itself to $54 million domestically. This is an average drop, but not particularly great for a comedy film. Ultimately, “The Lost City” is a test of whether or not original comedies can fare well at the box office post-pandemic. Though the film will not profit, it has grossed a respectable amount. $75 million is a bit steep for a comedy these days, and the budget does not even show that much in the film itself. I think that “The Lost City”’s gross proves that the original theatrical comedy can still exist in the modern landscape, though on lower scales.  

In third place, in its fifth weekend is “The Batman” which added another $10.8 million this weekend. This pushes its domestic gross just south of $350 million, off a 47.2% drop. Now this is not the greatest fifth weekend drop, but with a superhero competitor in “Morbius,” it at least did not completely collapse. If the film wants to reach $390 million, it needs to start putting up some sub-40% holds, which will be difficult with the onslaught of releases in April. 

Coming in fourth and fifth this weekend are “Uncharted” and “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie” which grossed $3.6 million and $1.97 million respectively. “Uncharted” had yet another fantastic drop, only falling 27.9%, pushing its domestic total to just below $139 million. I think it has enough gas in the tank to close out above $150 million, which is quite impressive for the video game adaptation. I think you would be hard pressed to find a prognosticator who would say “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” would place in the top 5 for three weekends in a row. With a near $30 million domestic gross, this is just the beginning for the anime genre in theaters domestically. I would not be surprised to see a surge in anime films domestically in the near future, as the genre continues to grow in popularity. 

Next week, as previously mentioned, brings the release of two films: “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and “Ambulance”. 

Pre-pandemic, the first “Sonic the Hedgehog” film opened to a three-day total of $58 million. It is tough to see the new film grossing that amount, especially since the family audience has largely stayed away from theaters post-pandemic, but I think a $40+ million opening is in play. 

“Ambulance” is an action thriller from director Michael Bay, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Eiza Gonzalez. I think a $20 million opening would be a solid prediction for this film, though I would not be surprised if it earns less than that. 

Next weekend will be quite interesting at the box office. With the new entrants coming into theaters, who knows —  the charts may go supersonic. 

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