With the tedious predictability of an unloved season, so it begins. Madame Web is a bomb. As was The Marvels. The Hollywood Reporter is carrying a story that quotes a theater chain source who says you could actually see advance ticket sales for Madame Web decline in real-time as cinemagoers ducked out of going, and wanted their money back.

A derisory $26.2 million haul in six days, a 13% Rotten Tomatoes critics score, and news of the budget being as high as $100 million, means that the mood at Sony is described as “gloomy” and there are serious question marks now over the entire viability of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSMU), previously known as the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters (SPUMC).


The SPUMC will not flow


Madame Web will not be getting a sequel, and after Morbius also cratered, no more SPUMC will be prepared until they see what happens with the already-shot movies like Venom 3 and Kraven The Hunter.

Across town at Disney, who also have some skin in this game through “shared” usage of Spider-Man, the usual narrative is developing. It’s all your fault, because of course it is. An anonymous Disney Executive still hasn’t got the memo and wraps up the failure of Madame Web with the failure of The Marvels and, well, you can guess the rest. They tell Puck News what the problem is:

“More appealing movies are a great way to jump the political issues. But more and more, our audience (or the segment of the audience that has been politicized) equates the perceived messaging in a film as a quality issue.

They won’t say they find female empowerment distasteful in The Marvels or Star Wars, but they will say they don’t like those movies because they are ‘bad.’ So ‘make better movies’ becomes code for ‘make movies that conform to regressive gender stereotypes or put men front and center in the narrative.’ Which is what you’re seeing now and what Bob [Iger]’s pivot is about right now.”

So nothing to do with quality? Nothing to do with superhero fatigue? Nothing to do with fundamentally failing to understand the core audience for the product? It’s all because we are a bunch of rabid misogynists.

I believe Bill Burr said something about women supporting women’s sports that feels applicable here.

Sony now wants Spider-Man 4 in cinemas by end of 2025, and Marvel (which is working hard to course correct and resolve quality issues) is apparently not keen on the rush.

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