Jared Leto's Morbius Delayed to 2022 to Avoid No Time to Die

Sony's already thrice-delayed Morbius, the Marvel Comics adaptation starring Jared Leto as the blood-sucking Spider-Man anti-hero, will now open on January 21, 2022. On Thursday, the No Time to Die domino tipped when MGM pushed Bond 25 from April 2 to October 8, signaling yet another round of delays for blockbusters like Marvel's Black Widow and F9. Sony pushed back multiple films, including the Camila Cabello-starring Cinderella, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife, bumping those films into mid-to-late 2021 and within range of Venom: Let There Be Carnage on June 25. Morbius moved to October 8 just last week.

With No Time to Die planting its flag on the October 8 date, Sony Pictures risked having hoped-for franchise-starter Morbius overshadowed by Daniel Craig's final outing as 007. When No Time to Die took that date, it sandwiched Leto's Marvel movie in-between director Denis Villeneuve's star-studded Dune (October 1) and R-rated slasher Halloween Kills (October 15).

Venom, which launched Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters with star Tom Hardy, also found itself in theaters alongside a Halloween franchise installment in 2018. When the Spidey-less Spider-Man spin-off swung into theaters in October 2018, it opened opposite awards season favorite A Star Is Born and two weeks before the Blumhouse-backed Halloween — a franchise reboot and a direct sequel to the 1978 original.

While Venom would web up the best-ever October opening weekend at the time (later losing that title to Joker), that was pre-pandemic. Morbius would have enjoyed a lack of competition had it held to its March 19 date, but Sony Pictures chief Tony Vinciquerra has made it clear the studio will not release its big-budget films with blockbuster potential until theaters are "operating at significant capacity."

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"What we won't do is make the mistake of putting a very, very expensive $200 million movie out in the market unless we're sure that theaters are open and operating at significant capacity," Vinciquerra said during a conference in September. "You'll see a lot of strange things happen over the next six months in how films are released, how they're scheduled, how they're marketed, but once we get back to normal, we will have learned a lot, I think, and found ways to do things that are somewhat different and hopefully better."

Morbius was previously set for July 10 and then July 31, 2020, before moving to March 19, 2021. It kept that date until last week, when Morbius moved again to October 8; it now opens on January 21, 2022. Should the schedule hold, Venom: Let There Be Carnage will open first on June 25; Tom Holland's Spider-Man returns in the Marvel Studios co-produced Homecoming 3, set for December 17.