Madame Web 2 likely won't happen, according to critics, viewers, and Dakota Johnson

Cassandra Webb/Madame Web (Dakota Johnson) in Columbia Pictures’ MADAME WEB.
Cassandra Webb/Madame Web (Dakota Johnson) in Columbia Pictures’ MADAME WEB. /

When Madame Web hit theaters in February 2024, Sony's latest Marvel superhero movie had all the makings of the next huge hit. Dakota Johnson led the movie with rising movie star Sydney Sweeney taking one of the key supporting roles. But the movie didn't quite live up to expectations.

The movie, which reportedly cost up to $80 or more million to make, topped out at the box office with just barely over $100 million made worldwide. Obviously, for a movie of this kind, that's not what companies want to see. Likewise, Madame Web was dunked on by critics, holding a meager 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, though viewers seemed to like it more judging by its 57% audience score.

If the movie had made a significantly larger amount of money at the box office but still had the same reviews, there's no doubt Sony would have went forward with a sequel. Maybe now that it's hit No. 1 on Netflix after one day on the streamer, the company will reconsider. However, at this point in time, plans for a future franchise have already been tossed out.

Sony scrapped franchise plans

According to a Feb. 19 report from The Hollywood Reporter, Sony more than likely abandoned plans to franchise Madame Web after its dismal financial returns and negative reception from critics and audiences alike. It's understandable that Sony wouldn't want to take the risk and double down on a movie that didn't work on multiple fronts simply to continue expanding a universe.

The movie doesn't have a post-credit scene, so there's no explicit set up for a sequel, though the ending of the movie does leave the door open for more, as is typically the case for any superhero movie. While a continuation of this particular Madame Web might not be in the cards right now, the character could very well be revisited in the distant future. Becoming a camp classic with a cult following has a funny way of helping a movie in the long run.

Dakota Johnson commented on sequel chances

In an interview with GamesRadar+ in February 2024, Johnson said on the likelihood of returning for a sequel, "If they want me to come back then I definitely will. I have no idea what's in store." But it seems that once she found out what was in store for the movie, her perspective on a sequel greatly shifted. In a March interview with Bustle, Johnson said, "Unfortunately, I’m not surprised that this has gone down the way it has."

Johnson expanded on that sentiment, and without speaking directly to her experience with Madame Web, she opened up about her feelings on the state of the film industry and its constraints on creativity with the rise of AI and other new facets. Here's what she said:

"It’s so hard to get movies made, and in these big movies that get made — and it’s even starting to happen with the little ones, which is what’s really freaking me out — decisions are being made by committees, and art does not do well when it’s made by committee. Films are made by a filmmaker and a team of artists around them. You cannot make art based on numbers and algorithms. My feeling has been for a long time that audiences are extremely smart, and executives have started to believe that they’re not. Audiences will always be able to sniff out bullsh-t. Even if films start to be made with AI, humans aren’t going to f-cking want to see those."

Dakota Johnson

The actress went on to state that she "probably will never do anything like [Madame Web] again" because she doesn't "make sense in that world." Although she understands why the movie went on to receive such criticism, it seems as though she's taken it all in stride as a learning experience, crossing "superhero movie" off her career to-do list. Still, she's not in a rush to return to that world, as she explains:

"But it was definitely an experience for me to make that movie. I had never done anything like it before. I probably will never do anything like it again because I don’t make sense in that world. And I know that now. But sometimes in this industry, you sign on to something, and it’s one thing and then as you’re making it, it becomes a completely different thing, and you’re like, 'Wait, what?' But it was a real learning experience, and of course it’s not nice to be a part of something that’s ripped to shreds, but I can’t say that I don’t understand."

Dakota Johnson

If Sony and Marvel were to ever pursue a Madame Web sequel or fold its characters or stories into another existing property, Johnson might not be part of the follow-up endeavors. But considering all of the marks against it, maybe even success on Netflix won't be enough to resurrect the movie for a sequel. As always, we'll have to wait and see what happens, but right now, the chances are super low.

Madame Web is currently available to watch on Netflix.