The success of Sony’s VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE cannot be overstated. It is both a financial hit with $400M in grosses against a $110M production budget, as well a symbolic hit, having had a larger opening weekend than its pre-pandemic predecessor.
CARNAGE and the first VENOM are the first two films in what Sony calls the Spider-Man Universe. The third is the upcoming MORBIUS.
We all know how enormously huge the SPIDER-MAN films have been, and the two VENOM films successfully launched this new universe. So, with just three months to go before its release, it’s odd to see such a muted campaign and response to MORBIUS.
Exhibit 1: THE POSTER
With 87 days to go before release, we have yet to get an official poster for MORBIUS. Well, that’s not entirely true. We did get this teaser poster that was released in March 2020, signaling an appearance at Comic-Con that never materialized because of Covid. As we sit a year and a half later, there have been no new one-sheets for the film.
Exhibit 2: The Trailer
We know that a trailer for MORBIUS played in front of CARNAGE, but it was the same trailer that Sony released back in early 2020.
Let’s rewind a few weeks. With CARNAGE scheduled to hit theaters on October 1st, wouldn’t you expect Sony to prepare fresh material to promote the next film in its Spider-Man Universe? Why was there no new poster? What about a fresh trailer? Why isn’t MORBIUS being given the star treatment?
It can’t be due to a lack of time. Usually, lags in material are due to a film being in post-production right up until the release date. But in the case of MORBIUS, this one has been in the can for a very long time.
More confounding is the fact that despite the long-in-the-tooth trailer playing in front of CARNAGE, MORBIUS has had only small gains in awareness. As you can see from the chart below, there has been a slight uptick in awareness for MORBIUS (light yellow), but at 23, it is well below 43, the number for CARNAGE (dark yellow) at the same distance from release.
The table below shows the films that currently rank 20-40 in awareness. We wouldn’t necessarily expect MORBIUS — a new movie — to have the same level of awareness as CARNAGE, which is a sequel. But we would certainly expect it to have higher awareness than, say, MARIO, JACKASS FOREVER, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2, or even FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE.
All is not lost. Three months is plenty of time for these numbers to turn around, but given the very successful launch of CARNAGE, it’s very surprising to see MORBIUS not riding that film’s coattails.