Bob Marley: One Love Surprises At The Weekend Box Office, While Madame Web Fails To Put Up Morbius Numbers

When Daniel Espinosa’s Morbius was released two years ago, the film was bashed without mercy by critics (I personally slapped it with one star in my CinemaBlend review), but during the movie’s opening weekend, audience curiosity ultimately overwhelmed the negative buzz, and it still managed to top the box office in its debut. The movie bombed in the aftermath of that first Friday-to-Sunday (plummeting 74 percent weekend to weekend), but the silver lining for the studio was that the project at least got off to a quick start.

Despite the hopes of the folks over at Sony, this pattern did not repeat itself for the release of S.J. Clarkson’s Madame Web. Like Morbius, the film got a critical drubbing last week, but it is also quickly looking like a major bomb that won’t be winning a box office crown any time soon. Instead of the new superhero movie, Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Bob Marley: One Love is now standing tall in the number one position on the domestic charts. Check out the full Top 10 below and then join me after for analysis.

Bob Marley: One Love Weekend Box Office February 16-18, 2024

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)
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1. Bob Marley: One Love*$27,700,000 $45,571,000 N/A3,539
2. Madame Web*$15,150,000 $23,355,000 N/A4,013
3. Argylle$4,720,000 $36,468,000 13,647
4. Migration$3,750,000 $114,828,000 52,455
5. The Chosen: Season 4 Episodes 4-6*$3,443,070 $4,220,036 N/A2,228
6. Wonka$3,400,000 $209,821,000 42,347
7. The Beekeeper$3,254,000 $59,896,000 32,557
8. Anyone But You$2,415,000 $84,712,000 72,020
9. Lisa Frankenstein$2,030,000 $7,664,000 23,143
10. Land Of Bad*$1,800,000 $1,800,000 N/A1,120

Bob Marley: One Love Surprises With A Bigger-Than-Expected Opened Weekend At The Box Office

Thanks to Valentine's Day being on a Wednesday this year, the biggest new wide releases this week had a jump start on the weekend... and it resulted in two very different narratives. The winner, as you can see, was Bob Marley: One Love. The new biopic about the eponymous music legend didn't exactly get the warmest pre-release reception, with critics offering up mixed opinions, but movie-goers were evidently interested in seeing the story on the big screen regardless. The $27.7 million it brought in over the last three days means that it technically had the second best opening weekend of any title released thus far in 2024 behind only Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr.'s Mean Girls (which made $28.6 million when it first hit theaters last month).

Also adding in the money that it made prior to Friday screenings, Bob Marley: One Love has made $45.6 million thus far, which is a pretty hot start. The movie wasn't the least expensive biopic to produce, as Variety reports that it had a $70 million budget (not counting marketing and publicity costs), but it's now already in a very healthy place. In addition to finding an audience in the United States and Canada, the film is also capitalizing on the fact that its subject is an internationally beloved superstar. Paramount Pictures has released the title in a number of overseas markets already, and ticket sales from those countries bring the release's total gross to $74.6 million.

It's emerging as a case where there is an extreme divide in opinion between critics and mass audiences. There is a lot of standard biopic fare in the film that professionals don't particularly appreciate, but the people who have been buying tickets this weekend are evidently looking past that criticism. Bob Marley: One Love is rocking an impressive 93 percent Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes (contrasting with 43 percent on the "Tomatometer") and surveys from CinemaScore have resulted in the release getting an "A" grade.

Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley in Bob Marley: One Love

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

What we've seen so far from Bob Marley: One Love could result in some long-term success. Those aforementioned wins with audiences suggest that the film might get a nice word-of-mouth campaign going, and friends telling friends about the good time they had seeing the movie could see the release sticking around in the Top 5 for a while. There is a recipe here for a weekend-to-weekend drop in the low-50s, and that's a nice thing to see given how incredibly depressing last week's box office numbers were.

There is some competition ahead on the release schedule (which I'll specifically highlight in my final paragraph), but it's entirely possible that we will ride out the rest of February with Bob Marley: One Love being the number one film domestically.

Madame Web Is The First Movie From Sony's Marvel Universe To Fail To Hit #1 In Its Opening Weekend

Now, let's talk about Madame Web.

Thus far, it can be said that Sony's Spider-Man Universe has gotten mixed results. All of the live-action films associated with the brand have been mauled by critics... though at the very least it can be said that the two Venom movies were box office hits, and, as mentioned, Morbius got off to a hot start. Madame Web, however, is arguably the first complete failure in the franchise. The 13 percent approval score its rocking on Rotten Tomatoes is two points less than Morbius', and audiences aren't loving it either (the Audience score sits at 55 percent, and it got a "C+" grade from CinemaScore surveys. There is little love being shown for the title, and that's now reflected in the ticket sales.

Madame Web made just $15.2 million over the last three days – and its total box office haul going back to Wednesday stands at $23.4 million. That's about half of the business that was done by Bob Marley: One Love, and the new comic book movie cost $10 million more to make (per Deadline). Obviously, circumstances would be a lot worse if the feature was made with a nine-digit budget a la the blockbusters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it's still going to struggle to get into the black. Globally, the film has made $49.1 million, but unlike Bob Marley: One Love, word-of-mouth is expected to sink the picture like a stone. If it experiences a 74 percent weekend-to-weekend drop a la Morbius, it will only make about $4 million next weekend... and that's realistic.

Needless to say, this is going to do nothing to appease fears about the future of superhero movies at the box office following the mostly dismal 2023... though there is every expectation that Shawn Levy's Deadpool 3 (the only MCU movie of the year) and Todd Phillips' Joker: Folie à Deux will be big hits in the coming months.

As for the next feature from Sony's Spider-Man Unverse, J.C. Chandor's Kraven The Hunter, which is coming out in August: I'm sure there's a whole lot of sweating going on behind the scenes.

Coming up weekend, the titles presently in the Top 10 will be seeing competition from four fresh wide releases, including Ethan Coen and Tricia Cooke's comedy Drive-Away Dolls, Haruo Sotozaki's anime feature Demon Slayer: To the Hashira Training, Jon Gunn's drama Ordinary Angels starring Alan Ritchson, and a re-release of Christopher Nolan's Tenet. Be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to get the low-down on the box office results, and check out our 2024 Movie Release Calendar to discover all of the features set to hit theaters and streaming between now and the end of the year.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.