Morbius’ Delay In Release Avoids A No-Way Home Problem That Sony Doesn’t Require

Morbius’ latest postponement may be a blessing in disguise, since Spider-Man: No Way Home continues to perform spectacularly at the box office:

A Still Of Tom Holland's Spider-Man & Jared Leto's Morbius
A Still Of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man & Jared Leto’s Morbius

Morbius’ latest postponement may be a blessing in disguise, since Spider-Man: No Way Home continues to perform spectacularly at the box office. Morbius, which was announced as a part of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, stars Jared Leto as the eponymous “living vampire” and serves as an origin narrative for the Sony-owned Marvel villain. The supporting cast includes Matt Smith, Tyrese Gibson, and Jared Harris, but Morbius has sparked our interest by reintroducing Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes-the same Adrian Toomes who became Vulture in the MCU’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s unclear how those dots will connect, but the MCU connection has surely contributed to Morbius’ hype. Unless you’ve been living under a very distant rock for the past two years (in which case, where is it, and may we join you? ), you’ll have noticed how profoundly COVID-19 has impacted the film business. “Disruption” scarcely begins to convey the pandemic’s impact, from production shutdowns and theatre closures to on-set measures and stars refusing to get vaccinated. Morbius is only one of many successful releases. Morbius was supposed to be released in July 2020, but it was pushed back to March 2021, then October 2021, then January 2022, and finally, somewhat later in January 2022. Sony just relegated Morbius to his sarcophagus until April 1, 2022.

Sony’s explanation is the Omicron form of COVID-19 that appeared around the end of 2021:

A Still From Jared Leto's Morbius: The Living Vampire
A Still From Jared Leto’s Morbius: The Living Vampire

Sony’s explanation is that the Omicron form of COVID-19 appeared around the end of 2021. The new strain is increasing infection rates and creating alarm in the medical community, pushing several governments to impose or contemplate imposing some kind of restrictions. This uncertainty and anxiety, as well as the possibility of additional safeguards in theatres, suggest that postponing Morbius is a prudent move. Even without the threat of omicron, postponing Morbius until April avoids direct rivalry with Spider-Man: No Way Home. Spider-Man: No Way Home, a collaboration between Marvel and Sony, is the year’s largest box office triumph by a long shot. No Time To Die and Shang-Chi hinted at a resurgence of movie theaters, but Spider-Man: No Way Home alone now accounts for a staggering 12 percent of 2021’s US box office, which is simply absurd. As Marvel and Sony feast on Hollywood’s biggest smash since the epidemic began, Peter Parker appears to have eight legs that will keep him going until January. As a result, Sony’s decision to release Morbius in the same month makes little sense. Despite Jared Leto’s Oscar-winning credentials, Dr. Michael Morbius lacks Peter Parker’s household-name recognition, and with moviegoers behaving cautiously, asking superhero fans to visit theatres twice in quick succession to see Spider-Man: No Way Home and Morbius can only jeopardize the latter’s box office success. Morbius is a relatively obscure property in an industry where massive blockbusters are more frequently produced. Sony’s superhero focus has to be Morbius, not an appendix that is quickly eclipsed by a still-swinging Spidey.

When Morbius’ MCU contacts are taken into account, this idea holds validation:

Morbius' postponement avoids a Spider-Man: No-Way Home situation
Morbius’ postponement avoids a Spider-Man: No-Way Home situation

This is even more true when Morbius’ MCU connections are considered. Though it’s unclear how Jared Leto’s character fits into the Marvel movie universe, his character will undoubtedly become an extension of the world Tom Holland’s Spider-Man inhabits. The lack of breathing room between Marvel universe chapters, along with the aforementioned Omicron problems, might throw a clove of garlic in the face of Morbius’s financial success. And, while the new release date brings Morbius closer to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6), Sony has no investment in Benedict Cumberbatch’s solo sequel, but Spider-Man: No Way Home is still raking in a fortune many believed unthinkable during the epidemic era.

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