After years of pandemic-related delays, Sony’s “Morbius” finally hit theaters this weekend after originally being slated for a Summer 2020 release. But for audiences, it appears the film was not worth the wait. The film has received a C+ CinemaScore from audiences who saw the movie, giving it the second worst score of any Marvel adaptation.
Critics have panned the movie, which stars Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius, a doctor who accidentally gives himself the powers of a vampire when he attempts to treat himself for a rare blood disease. “Morbius” appears to be failing with both fans and critics, as the film currently has a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 67% is slightly better, but still low for a comic book film.
Yet early box office numbers have been decent, with the movie bringing in $17.1 million on Friday, on pace for a weekend total of over $40 million. Those numbers are not bad for a film that cost $75 million, but it appears that the audiences who showed up did not like what they saw.
The only film based on a Marvel character to receive a lower CinemaScore was Josh Trank’s much maligned “Fantastic Four,” which received a C- when it was released in 2015. Even the infamous bomb “Howard the Duck” scored better with a B-. Most films in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe have earned an A or A+, with the notable exception of “Eternals,” which received a B.
It is not uncommon for films to fare better with CinemaScore than critics, as CinemaScore only measures the reactions from fans who were already interested enough to go see the movie. It is often said that a film’s CinemaScore is more indicative of how much it matches an audience’s expectations than anything else. Films that significantly diverge from what audiences expected to see often receive lower grades.
“Morbius” is the latest film in what the studio describes as the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, or SPUMC. With the majority of Marvel comic book characters under Disney’s control, Sony is primarily relying on a collection of Spider-Man villains in an attempt to build its own cinematic universe. The first two SPUMC films were “Venom” and “Venom 2,” which both received B+ grades from CinemaScore.
“Morbius” is now playing in theaters.