The Quorum

Which film benefitted most from being in front of SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME?

By now, everybody knows that SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME is a hit. Actually, that’s an understatement. It’s a box office titan for the ages. With a domestic haul of $260M, HOME scored the 2nd largest opening of all time amid a resurging pandemic. 

One of the best things about having a hit movie is that it gives the studio a huge platform to promote their upcoming films. In particular, Sony played trailers for both MORBIUS and UNCHARTED in front of a captive audience numbering in the millions.  

It makes sense that Sony would want to promote MORBIUS, the next Marvel offshoot from the Spidey universe. Likewise, it’s clear why Sony would want to push UNCHARTED, Tom Holland’s next studio film. 

But which of those two movies saw the biggest bump from being tied to SPIDER-MAN? We’ll take a look at both films through the lens of awareness. 

It turns out that they each saw a nice spike in awareness. MORBIUS is now at 36, up six points from a week ago, while UNCHARTED jumped a huge 11 points to 31. 

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers. 

MORBIUS:

As we’ve reported before, MORBIUS, starring Jared Leto, took its sweet time building awareness. Up until a month ago, awareness was hovering near 20. As it approaches its January 28th release date, the film is finally showing signs of life. But is it enough?

Awareness for MORBIUS, an offshoot of the VENOM universe, has been tracking significantly lower than VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE. But, as the chart below shows, it’s catching up. When we adjust the X-axis to show distance from release, we can see that CARNAGE opened with an awareness of 54. With five weeks to go, MORBIUS is beginning to reach VENOM. 

Does that mean MORBIUS has a chance to match the $90M opening for CARNAGE? Not entirely. It’s not really an apples-to-apples comparison. For one thing, CARNAGE was a sequel. On top of that, CARNAGE opened in October, which has a track record of higher debuts than January. 

Only one January release has opened above $50M, and that was BAD BOYS FOR LIFE, which launched to $62M in 2020. On the other hand, October has produced nine $50M+ openings. In that light, we need to adjust our expectations for MORBIUS. Anything that comes remotely close to a $50M opening would be huge. But for that to be even a remote possibility, the MORBIUS numbers will have to continue to rise. 

UNCHARTED:

With UNCHARTED, which arrives on February 18th, Tom Holland gets another opportunity to prove his box office might outside the MCU. His last effort, CHAOS WALKING, didn’t exactly establish him as a box office titan outside of SPIDER-MAN, though we can cut him some slack on that one. 

Lionsgate released CHAOS in early March, just when theaters began to re-open. At the time, fewer than half the big screens across the country were back in business. So, despite its $4M opening, it’s fair to call a mulligan. Having said that, the critics didn’t exactly love the film, so it’s unlikely that CHAOS would have been an enormous performer regardless of when it opened. 

The good news is that UNCHARTED is tracking much better. With an awareness of 31, UNCHARTED is already ahead of CHAOS, which was at 22 when it debuted. If UNCHARTED can continue on this path, it may give Holland his first hit outside the red suit. 

Both Jared Leto and Tom Holland had good autumns. Leto’s HOUSE OF GUCCI may have pulled in only decent numbers, but he got a ton of press for his complete physical transformation in the film.  And, of course, Holland played the title character in the largest SPIDER-MAN movie ever. Which actor will have a big spring? The jury is still out, but what we do know is that MORBIUS and UNCHARTED made significant strides coming out of this past weekend. 

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