Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess. Box office tracking has somehow been even less kind to Madame Web than social media has, with estimates pointing to it having a far tougher time financially than The Marvels. All in all, it appears unavoidable that this will be the biggest Marvel bomb since, well, the last time Sony released one of these — 2022’s Morbius. Ironically, Madame Web looks to be repeating one of that movie’s most egregious mistakes; by giving away its big twist days before it enters theaters.
Cast your mind back to late March 2022. Just a week before the Jared Leto vehicle entered cinemas, director Daniel Espinosa went and openly discussed the contents of the film’s post-credits scenes on Reddit. The move was widely mocked at the time as it was viewed as a duff attempt to drum up late-in-the-day interest in the release. Well, apparently someone at Sony still loves this idea as Madame Web helmer S.J. Clarkson seems to have done practically the same thing while promoting her own incoming flick.
Clarkson decided to make Valentine’s Day come early by confirming that, yes, both Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben and his mother, Mary Parker, will appear in Madame Web. To be fair to Clarkson, this was pretty much the film’s worst kept secret as fans had figured this out months ago — Adam Scott and Emma Roberts are even credited on IMDb as these two characters. However, it was something that Sony had been very careful not to confirm or announce in the movie’s marketing. Until now, that is.
When asked about these two key Spider-Man characters turning up, the director told ComicBookMovie’s Josh Wilding that it was a matter of wanting to honor Cassandra Webb’s comic book roots:
“I think, again, Madame Web was born in The Amazing Spider-Man comics. Do you know what I mean? There isn’t a Madame Web comic yet, although I think there probably should be,” Clarkson said. “There should be, right? I think we should… let’s start petitioning for a Madame Web comic. I think that would be amazing. But you know, I think it’s an homage and a nod of respect to where she’s come from.”
Will Madame Web be an even bigger bomb than Morbius?
Screencap via Sony Pictures
Believe it or not, there are actually a handful of Marvel movies that have fared worse at the box office than Morbius, and unfortunately for the hard work that Clarkson and her cast and crew put into their film, it looks like Madame Web will go down as one of them. Back in spring 2022, Morbius had a disappointing 3-day domestic opening of $39 million. By comparison, Madame Web is projected to earn a mere $25 million across its first six days in theaters.
It’s tragic that the last two superhero movie stumbles have focused on female characters, but the good news is that The Marvels has ended up being a hit on digital and streaming as those who missed it on the big screen catch on the small one instead. Nevertheless, that Brie Larson sequel has the historic good will towards the MCU behind it whereas Madame Web has the lingering stench of Morbius still clinging to it. It’s probably not a spoiler to say that 2024’s first comic book film may just go down as its least successful.