Morbius’ $167.5m Box Office Makes 5 Marvel Movies Look Even Worse By Comparison

Jared Leto as Michael Morbius is the SSU Morbius

Morbius may be one of the weakest Marvel movies ever, but its box office performance makes five other movies seem even worse. Part of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, Morbius earned $167.5m at the global box office – a surprisingly high figure considering its reputation. This performance has drawn comparison with other Marvel movies, from the MCU timeline and beyond, and offers a fresh perspective on some classic comic book movies.

2022’s Morbius followed Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto), who transforms into a vampire-like creature while attempting to cure himself of a rare blood disease. Despite its intriguing premise and high expectations, Morbius faced significant challenges and performed poorly. Morbius has since gained a notorious reputation as one of the worst comic book movies ever. However, despite this, Morbius’s box office performance still makes five Marvel movies seem even worse.

Morbius’ Box Office Beats 5 Marvel Movies

Jared Leto as Michael Morbius lying on the floor in Morbius

Despite its struggles, Morbius managed to earn more at the global box office than five other Marvel movies, making these movies seem even worse by comparison. Morbius out-performed Ghost Rider: Spirit of VengeanceElektraThe PunisherThe New Mutants, and Punisher: War Zone (via The Numbers). This outcome is intriguing, particularly when considering the historical and contextual factors involved.

First, it’s important to note that most of these movies were released over a decade ago, except for The New Mutants. Inflation and the general increase in movie ticket prices over the years played a role in boosting Morbius‘s earnings. This economic factor means that even a moderate box office performance in recent years can surpass the earnings of older films when adjusted for inflation.

Additionally, the evolving landscape of superhero movies provides another layer of context. When ElektraThe Punisher, and Punisher: War Zone were released, the superhero genre was not as dominant or as finely tuned as it is today. The expectations and production values were different, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe hadn’t yet set the high standards that contemporary audiences had come to expect. Morbius, while not part of the MCU, still benefited from the overall popularity of Marvel-branded movies.

The increased visibility and interest in Marvel properties likely contributed to its relatively better performance compared to these earlier releases. Ultimately, though, this box office history does offer a new perspective on these five Marvel movies, making them seem even worse than viewers might remember. Nevertheless, this comparison offers an interesting insight into the evolution of the superhero genre and highlights how changes in the industry, audience expectations, and economic factors can influence box office outcomes.

Why Morbius’ Box Office Was So Low

Dr Michael Morbius Jared Leto in Columbia Pictures MORBIUS movie

Morbius faced significant challenges that contributed to its poor performance at the box office. Initially slated for release in July 2020, Morbius was subjected to numerous delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, finally hitting theaters in April 2022. This timing was critical as the film industry was still grappling with the aftermath of the pandemic, with many theaters closed or operating under restrictions and audiences gradually returning to cinemas.

Morbius, a lesser-known character from the Spider-Man universe, struggled to attract a broad audience. Unlike more prominent Marvel characters, Morbius lacked widespread recognition, and his connection to Spider-Man was tenuous in this standalone film. This detachment from the more popular Spider-Man narrative made it harder to draw in fans who were unfamiliar with the character’s comic book origins.

Compounding these issues, Morbius received overwhelmingly poor reviews from critics, who cited its weak plot, lackluster special effects, and uninspired performances. These negative reviews were quickly amplified by fervent word of mouth and social media, resulting in a plethora of memes that mocked the film’s shortcomings. This viral spread of criticism and satire severely damaged the movie’s reputation, deterring potential viewers. The combination of these factors created a perfect storm that undermined Morbius at the box office, leading to its disappointing financial performance.

Morbius’ Total Gross Puts The MCU’s Lowest Box Office In Perspective

Morbius snarls in front of blood bags in the movie of the same name

Morbius’s box office performance highlights how even the least successful movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe maintain a reasonable standard in comparison. A prime example is The Marvels, which, despite receiving unfavorable reviews, outperformed Morbius financially. This underscores the inherent quality and audience draw of MCU films, even at their weakest. The Marvels managed to attract a substantial audience, reflecting the MCU’s established reputation for delivering engaging and interconnected stories.

This reputation often results in a baseline level of success, buoyed by a loyal fanbase and consistent marketing strategies. Conversely, Morbius failed to leverage its potential. While The Marvels did not achieve critical acclaim, its relative box office success compared to Morbius exemplifies how the MCU maintains a benchmark of quality that even its lesser films meet, reinforcing the disparity between MCU productions and other superhero film ventures.

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