‘Morbius’ First Trailer: Jared Leto Leaves Joker Behind for Comic Book Vampire Movie

Sony hopes to find "Venom"-level success with the upcoming tentpole from director Daniel Espinosa.
Sony / screencap

What a day for actors who play the Joker. A couple hours after Joaquin Phoenix landed an Oscar nomination for playing the Batman villain in Todd Phillips’ “Joker” (which topped all films this year with 11 Academy Award nominations), Sony Pictures has dropped the first trailer for its upcoming comic book tentpole “Morbius,” which features former Joker actor Jared Leto in the title role. Leto infamously starred as Joker in David Ayer’s critical bomb “Suicide Squad.” That film was supposed to introduce Leto’s Joker into the DCEU, but his character was more or less written out and won’t appear in either “Birds of Prey” or James Gunn’s “Suicide Squad” sequel. Fortunately, Leto has moved on to “Morbius.”

“Morbius” is based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name. Leto’s Michael Morbius is a scientist suffering from a rare blood disease whose attempts to find a cure result in him acquiring the powers of a vampire. The supporting cast includes Adria Arjona, Matt Smith, Jared Harris, and Tyrese Gibson. “Morbius” is the latest directorial effort from Daniel Espinoza, who last directed Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds in the space thriller “Life.”

For Sony, “Morbius” marks an important step in creating a future for their comic book tentpoles. The studio has had blockbuster success partnering with Disney on the release of its Tom Holland-starring “Spider-Man” movies (last summer’s “Far From Home” crossed one billion dollars at the worldwide box office), and it managed to find a new franchise with Tom Hardy’s “Venom” in 2018. Hardy’s tentpole grossed $856 million and has a sequel directed by Andy Serkis on the way. Can “Morbius” follow a similar trajectory? Rumor has it Sony is going R-rated with “Morbius,” a smart move considering the box office successes of “Deadpool,” “Logan” and “Joker.” The latter became the highest-grossing R rated release in history last year and scored 11 Oscar nominations.

Sony Pictures will release Morbius in theaters nationwide July 31. The movie is set to be one of the summer season’s major comic book tentpoles along with Disney’s latest Marvel Cinematic Universe entry “Black Widow.” Watch the official trailer below.

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