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‘Madame Web’ bombs at the box office after receiving critical mauling

It's also believed that plans for a series of spin-off films have also now been shelved.

By Nick Reilly

Dakota Johnson in Madame Web

Madame Web has scored one of the lowest box office opening weeks of all time for a film based on a Marvel character after it was universally panned by critics.

The film, which stars Dakota Johnson as the eponymous character, debuted to harsh reviews on February 14, with one notable one-star review from The Times claiming that it represented “the death of the superhero genre, the burning of the superhero genre to the ground and then the returning in the middle of the night to piss on the superhero genre’s ashes.”

Now, it seems like audiences have voted with their feet too. In its first six days of release, the film has taken a paltry $26.2 million (£20.8 million) in the US, and a further $25.7 million (£20.4 million) internationally.

This is even lower than Sony’s Morbius, which took $73.9 million upon release in the United States and Canada.

The latest in Sony’s ill-fated Marvel properties stars Johnson as Cassie Webb, a woman with psychic abilities, and is directed by SJ Clarkson.

The Hollywood Reporter also reports that Sony had hoped the film would act as a springboard for a series of spin-offs focusing on the characters played by Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced and Celeste O’Connor, but those films now appear to be dead in the water.

“We’re not going to see another Madame Web movie for another decade plus,” one industry insider claimed.

The film has also attracted attention for Johnson’s unexpected forthrightness on the press trail, claiming in one interview that acting on the film with a high concentration of CGI was “absolutely psychotic”.

“I’ve never really done a movie where you are on a blue screen, and there’s fake explosions going off, and someone’s going, ‘Explosion!’ and you act like there’s an explosion. That to me was absolutely psychotic,” she said.

“I was like, ‘I don’t know if this is going to be good at all! I hope that I did an okay job!’ But I trusted [Clarkson]. She works so hard, and she has not taken her eyes off this movie since we started.”

While based on a Marvel comic, the film exists separately from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which is owned by Disney. Instead, it is a part of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, which has previously included films such as 2018’s Venom, 2021’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage and 2022’s Morbius.

A third Venom film is also currently in production with Tom Hardy returning as Eddie Brock, the journalist who transforms into the titular alien symbiote. It is currently set to hit cinemas in November 2024.