The Bob Marley Biopic Is Poised To Beat Madame Web At The Box Office 

I've written an awful lot about how 2023 was a rough year for superhero movies. While fewer comic book films are hitting the big screen this year, it seems like the trend is going to continue in the early going. "Madame Web" is now poised to lose the Valentine's Day box office battle to "Bob Marley: One Love." And, relative to what we're used to seeing Marvel movies pull in, the numbers are the opposite of heroic.

Paramount's Bob Marley biopic is currently expected to win the holiday week with between $27 and $33 million in its first six days of release, per Deadline. The film comes out mid-week on Wednesday for the Valentine's Day crowd and will also have the benefit of the following Monday President's Day holiday. Meanwhile, Sony's latest "Spider-Man" spin-off "Madame Web" is expected to pull in just $25 million during that same stretch. That would be a rough number for a standard opening weekend, but across six days? That's downright brutal.

The only upside for Sony here is that the studio reportedly didn't overspend on the film. Its budget is said to be in the $80 million range, making it far cheaper than most comic book adaptations these days, which often carry $200 million price tags. Even so, unless word-of-mouth is through the roof, it's difficult to see director S.J. Clarkson's take on this particular Marvel Comics character having long enough legs to justify to the expense. "Morbius," which was a critical disaster, opened to $39 million but petered out fast and topped out at just $167 million worldwide. It appears the studio's latest Marvel film is on a similar trajectory.

The numbers we're looking at are just early projections and a lot could change between now and mid-February. Even so, unless the projections for "Madame Web" skyrocket it's not going to make all that much of a difference if the movie somehow tops the charts when it opens.

Bob Marley is set to triumph over Madame Web

These numbers are far below what Sony (or any studio for that matter) is looking for with a blockbuster such as "Madame Web." Thankfully, the budget will probably keep it from being a total financial disaster, but it's not at all shaping up to be a winner, that much is certain.

The film stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who develops the power to see the future. She soon realizes she can use that insight to change it and forges a relationship with three young women bound for powerful destinies. The cast also includes Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, Celeste O'Connor, Tahar Rahim, Mike Epps, Emma Roberts, and Adam Scott.

Meanwhile, Paramount is seemingly looking to recapture some of the music biopic magic that turned "Elvis" into a $288 million global box office smash a couple of years ago. Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, "One Love" stars Kingsley Ben-Adir as the legendary musician, who has sold 75 million albums worldwide. While that's not quite as many as Mr. Presley, there is a massive audience for his music, and a loyal audience at that. The budget for the film has yet to be revealed but one assumes it probably cost less than "Elvis," which was made for $80 million. If so, then it stands a good shot at becoming a decent hit for the studio.

That's welcome news, as the 2024 box office is off to a very slow start. With so few movies on the release calendar for the first chunk of the year, ticket sales are down significantly compared to 2023. Theaters need some breakout hits to emerge. Bob Marley might be that hero. Cassandra Web almost certainly won't be.

"Bob Marley: One Love" and "Madame Web" are set to hit theaters on February 14, 2024.

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