For those not familiar, MORBIUS is an extension of Sony’s hugely successful Marvel universe. The flagship of that universe, of course, are the SPIDER-MAN movies.
In 2018, Sony expanded beyond the wall-crawler with VENOM. Critics didn’t love it, but the films made an impressive $850M worldwide, $214M here at home. The follow-up VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE is scheduled to open next month.
MORBIUS, an antihero very much in the vein of VENOM, was next in line for the Sony build-out.
Once upon a time, MORBIUS had a plum summer 2020 release date. But, like so many other films, it got blindsided by the pandemic. In a bit of bad timing, a teaser trailer was released in January of 2020, just two months before theaters closed.
That trailer, however, did little to raise awareness. As you can see below, awareness for MORBIUS (light yellow) has hovered around 20 for the past nine months. By comparison, VENOM2 (dark yellow) has been in the low-40s. We wouldn’t necessarily expect the two films to be equal — one is a sequel, the other isn’t — but MORBIUS is part of the Marvel world, so we would expect the movie to have a higher level of built-in awareness than it currently does.
On the interest side, it’s a similar story. MORBIUS (light blue) is well below VENOM2 (dark blue).
Awareness is soft. So is interest. And on top of that, the film now has a January 2022 release date. That’s after the opening of VENOM2. Back when both films were scheduled to open in 2020, it was MORBIUS that was supposed to come out first.
Could it be that Sony is losing confidence in MORBIUS? Does the studio need to bring fans back into the fold with a film that is more of a “sure thing” before introducing a new character?
Regardless, VENOM2 is less than two months away from release (assuming it doesn’t get pushed by the rise in COVID cases). With VENOM2, Sony has a terrific platform to relaunch the MORBIUS campaign. Look for a new trailer to hit just in time to play in front of VENOM2. Hopefully the new trailer will help lift MORBIUS out of lower ends of the tracking charts.