Morbius, a spinoff from the universe of live-action films, is hitting theaters Friday. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic, with its profound disruptions to new movies, ushered an unprecedented wave of theatrical films to streaming services at the same time they hit cinemas. HBO Max, in particular, became synonymous with the practice last year, but Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, Peacock and Netflix all have track records with same-day releases, too.
Confusion around this same-day streaming practice has led to some misguided hope among moviegoers when any new movie hits theaters. Without new standards for when movies move to streaming, lots of people get confused whenever a film hits the big screen whether it’ll be streaming too.
But Morbius is being released exclusively in theaters Friday, without a subscription streaming option.
Where will Morbius stream?
Morbius is going to stream first on Netflix. The movie is distributed by Sony, which for all its 2022 theatrical releases to stream on Netflix before they’re available on any other service or TV network.
Will it be ‘free’ to stream?
Since Netflix requires a paid subscription, nothing is available on Netflix free. But Netflix never charges any additional fees to watch anything in its library, and Morbius will be part of the standard catalog like everything else.
When is Morbius’ release date for streaming?
Neither Netflix nor Sony has confirmed a streaming release date for Morbius yet. But Netflix’s deal with Sony is what’s known as a “pay-one window.” Traditionally, movies hit this stage of their release cycle roughly six to nine months after theatrical release.
So if Sony and Netflix stick with this kind of timeline for Morbius, the movie would start streaming on Netflix sometime between October and the end of this year.
For what it’s worth, Sony’s last movie similar to Morbius — Spider-Man: No Way Home — is supposed to start streaming within six months, according to Hollywood trade publication Deadline. But whether Morbius is going to follow that timeline too is complicated (see below).
Will Morbius and Spider-Man: No Way Home both be on Netflix?
No, the latest Spider-Man movie, No Way Home, isn’t going to be on Netflix at all.
Both movies are distributed by Sony, and they exist in the same narrative universe. But Netflix’s deal to stream these movies starts with films theatrically released in 2022 and after. No Way Home was released in late 2021, and Sony has an agreement in place for its 2021 movies to go to the premium cable network Starz first, not Netflix.
On Starz, No Way Home will be available to watch on its traditional channels as well as on its streaming app. If it is released to stream within the six months that Deadline reported, No Way Home would arrive on Starz before early August.