Exceeding most expectations, MORBIUS leads the North American box office by securing $39.1M in its opening weekend. The much-delayed Sony/Marvel release starring Jared Leto was aided by a very strong $5.7M from its Thursday night advanced screenings. Most industry prognosticators had projected an opening in the low to mid $30M range. While this strong opening is yet another sign that the exhibition is recovering, some MORBIUS watchers are pointing to a few dark clouds on the horizon.
First and foremost, the Saturday gross fell back from the Friday opening number, even after excluding Thursday night advance screenings. Saturday should grow by 20%-30% from the pure Friday number but produced just 95% of that Friday result, indicating that a high percentage of its fans chose to see it on its advanced screening or opening night. Second, MORBIUS’ Rotten Tomatoes audience score was only 67%, significantly lower than the score for most Marvel movies. Finally, while no one expected this film to be a critical success, the Rotten Tomatoes critic’s score came in at a brutal 17% Fresh. This will certainly impact future grosses, with little interest coming from anywhere outside the core Marvel fan base. For now, exhibitors are eager to reel in as much as they can in the early days of the release.
THE LOST CITY finished in second place with $14.8M, a drop of 51% from last week’s opening. THE BATMAN dropped back to third place with $10.8M in its fifth weekend in theatres. A24’s EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is shaping up to be a sleeper hit to keep an eye on, expanding its release over the last two weeks. It began last weekend with screenings at only ten locations, where it earned just over $500K in three days for a stunning $50K per theatre average.
This weekend, A24 expanded to 38 locations and still produced an amazing $27K per theatre average. The action-adventure comedy tells the story of an exhausted Chinese-American woman who can’t seem to finish her taxes. How timely! It has attracted a stellar 97% Fresh Rotten Tomatoes critics score and an audience score of 96%. A24 plans to go much wider next weekend, reaching over 1,000 locations, in an attempt to recapture some of the success of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, which ran off with $175M in 2018. We can only hope.
All titles showing in theatres this weekend generated an estimated 58% of the box office from the same weekend in 2019.