Movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe usually make tons of cash, but then sometimes the math adds up, and a shitty trailer produces stinky reviews which evolves into a shitty box office. Like Morbius! The movie where Jared Leto plays a vampire scientist doctor….thing. It wasn’t a hit. That is until the internet turned Morbius into a goofy meme, at which point Morbius’ popularity exploded. Again, not for the right reasons. But Sony didn’t see a difference, and they decided to re-release Morbius back into theaters in an attempt to capitalize on Morbius’ sudden popularity. And guess what happened? That’s right, no one went to see it the second time around either.
Morbius was originally released in theaters on April 1st, which is deeply appropriate, considering this whole fiasco feels like an extended April Fool’s Joke. The film took in a worldwide gross of about $84 million on opening weekend, and that’s not great, considering Morbius reportedly cost about $83 million to make. And it was released on VOD platforms on June 14. That brings us to the internet’s involvement in this Morbius mess. The terrible reviews, combined with the laughable plot and CGI, were the perfect recipe for internet memes to be born, and it became fun to hate on Morbius. Then a fake catchphrase – “It’s Morbin’ time” – was born, and that took the memes to a whole new level of stupid. Even Jared Leto himself got in on the joke.
What time is it? pic.twitter.com/IuWR72WCc9
— JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) June 3, 2022
Sony wanted in on the joke, or at the very least, they hoped to profit off the joke. What Sony ended up learning was a very valuable lesson. Memes don’t translate into cash! via Forbes:
Sony brought Morbius back into 1,037 theaters this weekend, either due to a misunderstanding of how Internet memes work or (more likely) just playing along to give theaters something “new” on a dead weekend and keep Jared Leto’s anti-hero in the news cycle. To the surprise of no one who didn’t see Snakes on a Plane in theaters or watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max, the online shenanigans translated to $300,000 or $289 per theater.
As of right now, including Sony’s $300,000 stunt, Morbius has made about $73 million domestically, and a little over $163 million worldwide.
Well, it looks like Sony learned a very valuable lesson about internet culture. You can’t force a movie into cult status. It has to happen organically, like when one friend tells you about his insane movie they saw called The Room. That’s sincere cult love. The love for Morbius was an insincere, ironic, temporary internet kind of love. You know, where everyone joins in to laugh at the dumb Morbius jokes until some random newscaster goes viral at a Bee Festival for accidentally saying “dick licking horny” instead of “delicious honey.”