“Spider-Man: No Way Home” Movies— the latest movie in the Marvel series — notched a record breaking opening weekend at the domestic box office by bringing in an estimated $253 million, according to its studio, Sony (SNE).
That is the third highest opening weekend in box office history and also the highest opening weekend for the month of December. The film blew past its original projections by $123 million. Only 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” and 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War” opened to larger numbers.
In terms of recent box office returns, it took only one day for the film to become the highest grossing opening of any movie during the pandemic. Also, it took only one weekend for “No Way Home” to become the highest grossing film of 2021. The opening was also the best for the Spider-Man franchise and for Sony Pictures.
The film has made $587.2 million worldwide so far, according to the studio.
Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures spoke to the film’s historic success on Sunday.
“This weekend’s historic ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Online, results, from all over the world and in the face of many challenges, reaffirm the unmatched cultural impact that exclusive theatrical films can have when they are made and marketed with vision and resolve,” Rothman said in a statement. ”
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore (SCOR), told CNN Business that “movie theaters have been looking for a hero and Spider-Man swung in and saved the day.”
Dergarabedian also called the opening “astonishing” and said it “gives an industry hard hit by the effects of the pandemic both a spiritual and box-office boost that could carry forward into the new year.”
“As arguably the most important weekend in box-office history, the implications of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’s’ performance cannot be overstated in terms of its ability to change a narrative,” he added. “It reaffirms the movie theater’s place as one of the most viable, relevant, and beloved entertainment institutions.”
The film — stars Tom Holland and Zendaya as Peter Parker and MJ as they battle villains from across the Marvel multiverse — brought in a higher opening weekend than some of the most successful blockbusters of all time. That includes “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “The Avengers” and “Black Panther.”
While other box office records have fallen in the past, this weekend for “No Way Home” is particularly impressive.
Theaters desperately needed some good news, as rising Covid cases threaten to keep would-be moviegoers at home and streaming became a more dominant way for viewers to watch big movies from the comfort of their couch.
“No Way Home” — which is exclusive to theaters for the time being — was able to bring in record box office returns even as the Omicron variant caused Broadway shows to cancel in New York City and forced “Saturday Night Live” to pull its live audience.
‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Passes ‘The Force Awakens’ With $253 Million Opening
Sony/Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has continued to soar up the all-time box office charts with a $73 million opening Saturday, pushing its estimated opening weekend up to $253 million from 4,336 theaters and above the $247 million launch of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
That means that Spidey has webbed up the record for the biggest December opening in box office history and now sits third on the all-time opening list. If the film continues to beat industry estimates on Sunday, it will pass the $257 million opening of “Avengers: Infinity War” for the No. 2 spot.
In a year where no film had earned an opening weekend above $100 million and the financial performance of big releases was judged on a pandemic curve, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has turned in another historic performance as it is now responsible for five of the eight $200 million-plus opening weekends in industry history.
The 18-35 demographic, which has had a much larger share of audience turnout than in pre-pandemic times, has filled up theaters nationwide with social media filling up with clips of fans cheering wildly at the arrival of various characters from past “Spider-Man” films. On Thursday, 75% of the audience for “No Way Home” came from 18-35 moviegoers.
And with excellent reception across the board, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is on its way to legging out very well through the holiday season from both casual audiences and hardcore fans coming back for repeat screenings. Rotten Tomatoes scores are 94% critics and 99% audience, going with an A+ on CinemaScore and a 91% recommend rating on Postrak.
“This weekend’s historic Spider-Man: No Way Home results, from all over the world and in the face of many challenges, reaffirm the unmatched cultural impact that exclusive theatrical films can have when they are made and marketed with vision and resolve,” Sony Chairman/CEO Tom Rothman said in a statement. “All of us at Sony Pictures, are deeply grateful to the fabulous talent, both in front of and behind the camera, that produced such a landmark film.”
The one thing that could take out Spider-Man’s legs? The Omicron variant. This weekend, COVID-19 infections have seen a significant surge across almost all of the U.S., most notably in New York, where the daily new case rate reached an all-time high as Broadway performances were cancelled and “Saturday Night Live” aired its final episode of the year with a limited cast and crew and no studio audience.
There’s always the chance that if this surge continues, it could put a dent in moviegoing confidence and damage holdover numbers for “No Way Home,” as well as the openings of films like “The Matrix Resurrections” and “Sing 2” that are coming out for Christmas weekend. But so far, COVID has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of Spidey fans who grew up seeing the webslinger on the big screen.
But COVID has wrecked the hopes of films aimed at older demographics. With audiences over 45 largely staying home and “No Way Home” accounting for over 90% of all domestic revenue this weekend, films like 20th Century’s “West Side Story” and Searchlight’s “Nightmare Alley” barely left any mark on the charts.
“West Side Story” has dropped 68% from its poor $10.5 million opening to a $3.4 million second weekend, giving the $100 million musical a domestic total of just $18 million. With COVID cases expected to trend upward over the holiday period, there’s no sign that Steven Spielberg’s passion project will be able to leg out in theaters in any meaningful way.
“Nightmare Alley,” meanwhile, opened to $3 million from 2,145 theaters for a per theater average of around $1,400. By comparison, Guillermo Del Toro’s previous film, “The Shape of Water,” earned $3 million on Christmas weekend in 2017 from just 726 locations, going out leg out to a $63 million domestic total. This bleak noir followup with a $60 million budget likely won’t match that performance as audiences gave it a B on CinemaScore compared to an A for “Shape of Water”
Holdovers fill out the top 5 as Disney’s “Encanto” takes a very, very distant second to “Spider-Man: No Way Home” with $6.5 million in its fourth weekend and an $81.5 million domestic total as it is set for a release on Disney+ this coming Friday. Sony’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is tied with “West Side Story” for third with $3.4 million, giving it a total of $117 million after five weekends.