“Spider-Man: No Way Home” shattered pandemic box office records this weekend, opening with an estimated $253 million in ticket sales.
Not only is this the highest film debut of 2021, it is the third-best opening of all time behind “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” Sony’s Sunday number is an estimate, however, and by Monday this figure could potentially change slightly, lifting “No Way Home” higher on the charts.
After all, Marvel’s “No Way Home” is not far behind “Infinity War,” which opened with $257.6 million in 2018. “Avengers: Endgame” is the highest-grossing film opening of all time with $357.1 million, according to data from Comscore.
“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,” said Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group.
Audiences rushed to theaters early this weekend to catch “No Way Home” before potential spoilers could be leaked online, leading to a $121.5 million haul on Friday, including $50 million from Thursday night preview shows. Sony reported that the film added $73.8 million on Saturday and estimates around $57.3 million in ticket sales by the end of Sunday.
Internationally, “No Way Home” scored $334.2 million from 60 overseas markets, leading to a $587.2 million global haul, the third-highest worldwide opening of all time.
“This is proof positive that moviegoers will turn out when the right film comes along,” said Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “That’s a win for the studios … the studios with a multiverse of IP, that is.”
Audiences rushed to theaters early this weekend to catch “No Way Home” before potential spoilers could be leaked online. The box office saw similar fervor back in 2019 when “Avengers: Endgame” was released, which resulted in the highest domestic and global opening of all time.
Box office analysts foresee audiences returning to theaters to see the film multiple times, as was seen with “Endgame,” and expect the film to have solid ticket sales over the next few weeks.
“For ‘No Way Home,’ in particular, there is an added incentive to not miss out on major spoilers which created an urgency to see this on the big screen,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.
While box office analysts were certain that “No Way Home” could easily surpass $100 million during its opening, a feat no other film has managed during the pandemic, it was unclear if ticket sales would be dampened by a recent surge in coronavirus cases in the U.S. The Covid omicron variant has led to an increase in cases, even among those who are fully vaccinated.
“What we’re seeing from ‘Spider-Man’ right now is truly remarkable given the rising concerns about the omicron variant,” Robbins said. “… We must be cautious about short-term expectations as the pandemic continues to render everything volatile and subject to daily headlines. But for now, at least, this performance validates the importance of theatrical exclusivity for the industry as well as the meaningful place which moviegoing has in our global culture.”
Around 20 million people are expected to see “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” according to Steve Buck, the chief strategy officer for EntTelligence, a research firm. That is more attendance than every home game during a National Football League season, he said.
Buck noted that nine out of every 10 moviegoers saw the new “Spider-Man” feature this weekend.
“We are living through box office history and a moment that will be referenced for years to come,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “‘No Way Home’ took command of movie theaters around the world and captivated an audience hungry for the kind of pure cinematic escapist fun that only the communal environment of the movie theater can provide.”
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