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We are five days from the domestic debut of Sony’s Venom. Sure enough, producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach made headlines on Friday by touting the next movie in the Spider-Verse. Yes, if Venom is a crowd-pleasing hit, we’ll get a Jared Leto-starring Morbius movie. Regardless of whether anyone actually wants such a thing, it’s probably a better pre-release narrative than Tom Hardy lamenting 40 minutes of deleted scenes and the filmmakers justifying a PG-13 rating. But that puts additional pressure on the current Sony superhero offering. The $100 million-budgeted superhero flick isn’t just tasked with making money. No, it’s primary goal is to create the presumption of interest not just in itself or even a Venom and Carnage in the Big Balloon Adventure, but in a whole cinematic universe featuring Spider-Man villains.
What this means is that it’s not enough for Venom to be a hit. It’s not even enough for Venom to be a passable matinee entertainment. No, for Venom to be considered a success, it has to be good enough to get folks excited about the notion of multiple Sony-produced superhero/anti-hero movies based on various Spider-Man villains.