It is approaching two year anniversary of the first Morbius trailer, with the teaser dropping on the morning of January 13, 2020. The film was slated for July 31, 2020. Since then it has been delayed five more times, to March 19, 2021, October 8, 2021, January 21, 2021, January 28 2021 and now April 1, 2021.
It was the first big presumed-2021 release to take flight when Covid variables didn’t improve in early 2021, preceding even No Time to Die fleeing its intended April 2 date. While it’s likely that concerns over Omicron infections (and related consumer confidence) played a part in the delay, it may not be entirely defensive.
First, with Morbius out of the way, Sony’s own mega-movie Spider-Man: No Way Home ($611 million domestic and $1.37 billion worldwide thus far) has an entirely open lane in terms of kid-friendly, franchise-specific offerings right up until Sony’s Uncharted on February 18. Scream (which I guess is now the “biggest movie of January” by default) is R-rated, as is Jackass Forever on February 4 and even Kenneth Branagh’s PG-13 Death on the Nile (February 11) plays older-skewing.
Going in early April means Spidey can keep its PLF and IMAX screens (especially if the other January releases wipe out and forfeit that privilege) at least until Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall on February 4. Am I being overly optimistic and trying to look on the positive side rather than face the possibility that we’re about to see yet more delays two years into this pandemic partially because too many people made the uninformed choice not to get vaccinated?
Maybe, the “living vampire” movie will do as well in early April as it would have in late January. Sonic the Hedgehog (April 8) will skew younger while Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (April 15) may skew fan-only. And if Jared Leto wins a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for House of Gucci on March 27, well, that won’t hurt either. I’m not thrilled about Paramount’s Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum action comedy The Lost City having Marvel competition in weekend two, but Sony and Paramount don’t have to play nice.
Will we now see another round of delays? Your guess is as good as mine, but the only other “big” movies opening in January are now The 355 (a distribution-only deal for Universal) and Paramount’s Scream over the next two weeks. If there is reason to believe the worst will be over by February, then I guess the Halle Berry/Patrick Wilson disaster epic and the Jackass movie could be our unofficial “return to the theaters” for 2022.
Not to be grouchy and selfish, but we’ve have vaccines for over a year. At some point, society needs to start penalizing those who willfully choose to not protect themselves over those who have done what was needed. Here’s hoping that this is the last “big movie delayed” article I have to do anytime soon, because I honestly thought that was all behind us.
This also means another two damn months of seeing that bloody (or not bloody enough) Morbius trailer before every movie we dare see in a theater! At least Jim Morrison’s estate will keep getting royalties.