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Madame Web Tanks While Marley Triumphs at The Box Office

Sony Pictures' most recent foray into the superhero franchise has tanked at the Box Office, earning a disappointing $17.6 million (£13.9m) in its opening weekend and $25.8 million (£20.4m) domestically in the first six days.  

Marking the worst opening for any Spider-Man Universe, Madame Web joins the ranks as the most recent addition to the franchise, similarly underperforming like its predecessors. The last motion picture by the franchise, Morbius, where biochemist Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) inadvertently infects himself with vampirism, made only $39.1 million (£30.9m) in its own three-day opening upon release in Spring 2022.

Madame Web, based on the Marvel Comic of the same name, stars the likes of Dakota Johnson as a paramedic turned clairvoyant, Sydney Sweeney as an awkward teenager, Isabela Merced as a homeless youngster, and Celeste O'Connor as a wealthy girl with distant parents. 

Produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and directed by the British television and film director S.J. Clarkson, the film follows the life of Cassandra Webb, a paramedic living in Manhattan who gains the ability to see the future after an accident and is forced to use it to protect those around her while confronting her past.

The New York Times's Manohla Dargis penned an article published under the 'What To Watch' section, commending Dakota Johnson's performance while slating the "wholly detached nonsense" the lead actress managed to avoid. Dargis also judged the movie's "absurd" storyline but offered a small consolation in lauding that it "never achieves memorably terrible status". The internet movie reviewing platform Metacritic gave the film a rating of just 27%, while Rotten Tomatoes gave it only 13%.

Based on reporting by Deadline, the Song/Marvel film made its overseas debut across 61 markets with $25.7 million, as the UK and Mexico brought in $2.9 million (£2.29m) each. The movie has reached number one in 29 countries, enabling it to gain an estimated $51.8 million (£40.34m) worldwide since its global launch, based on figures as of 21 February 2024.

All this meant Madame Web came in second at the Box Office, being beaten to the number one spot by Paramount's highly anticipated biopic, Bob Marley: One Love. The movie follows the life and trials of music legend Bob Marley on his journey to become the most famous reggae artist ever. The cast includes British actors Kingsley Ben-Adir, of Peaky Blinders, Lashana Lynch, of the Bond Franchise fame, and James Norton, of Happy Valley stardom, alongside the American actor Michael Gandolfini, son of the late Sopranos star James Gandolfini.  

As Variety magazine reported online, One Love conducted a "Triumph Over' Madame Web" by bringing in an estimated $52 million (£41.13m) domestically in its first six days at the Box Office over the extended holiday weekend. Nevertheless, the movie suffered similar critique from the rating website Rotten Tomatoes with a 'Tomatometer', the website rating indicator, giving the movie a lowly 42% based on 157 reviews, and the 'critics consensus' summarising the "ultimately standard biopic that doesn't do justice to its brilliant subject."

As the most recent biopic in a series of films released in recent years, the genre is a part of a broader trend smashing it at the Box Office. Since 2018, notable films have included Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), Elton John with Rocketman (2019), Aretha Franklin with Respect (2021), Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody (2022), and Elvis Presley in the acclaimed Elvis (2022).


Photo Credit: Theatrical Release Poster Sony Pictures

Editor: Vidhi


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