Sony Pictures has selected two key dates for their next releases from the Marvel universe. Sony, which holds the rights to the Spider-Man universe, has selected July 10, 2020, and October 2, 2020, as release dates for their next films, according to Variety.
The studio did not release specifics about which films will be released on those dates. The July entry is likely to be Morbius, starring Jared Leto as the titular villain. Morbius is a vampiric villain who first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #101 in 1971. Dr. Michael Morbius, searching for a cure for his own rare blood disorder, instead inflicts vampire-like qualities upon himself after a failed biochemical experiment. Stricken with the physical abilities and traits of a traditional vampire, Morbius at first was a rogue villain who clashed with Spider-Man, but eventually developed into a brutal vigilante anti-hero in his own spinoff series. The character has already been featured in Spider-Man: The Animated Series and various video game titles.
In addition to Leto, the Morbius film will be directed by Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa.
The film should come with significant anticipation after the surprising success of Tom Hardy's Venom spinoff earlier this year. Venom, directed by Ruben Fleischer, was released with similar scheduling this year and enjoyed tremendous success despite poor critical reviews, earning $80 million upon its launch, a domestic gross of $210 million, and so far has made $800 million worldwide. The film's $80 million opening was the highest October debut of all time, according to Collider.
Since Spider-Man: Far From Home is due out next year, the October release is likely to be the heretofore untitled sequel to Venom. Sony has yet to officially greenlight production for a sequel, but after the box office success of the original, it seems almost a foregone conclusion that the studio would be lining up a sequel. Venom stars Tom Hardy as the titular villain, a gruff journalist who shares a body with an alien symbiote sent as a scout for a potential alien invasion. The sequel is reported to return Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady, AKA Carnage, another villain from the Spider-Man universe that also has a crossover with Morbius.
The announcement makes 2020 appear to be a blockbuster year for superhero and comic book films. In addition to Morbius and Venom 2, the DC Extended Universe is pairing up with Warner Bros. to release Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984, while Marvel is also teaming up with Disney to release The Eternals in 2020.