It seems as though Spider-Man is saving more than just citizens in 2021 – the webslinger has also swung to the rescue of the global box office with his latest outing.
Spider-Man: No Way Home has scored a massive $253 million opening weekend in the US, taking an equally impressive $334.2 million overseas for a global total of $587.2 million (even before opening in China). That means the Marvel tentpole has secured the third-biggest debut, both domestically and globally, of all time.
Those figures also make No Way Home the first Covid-19-era movie to surpass $100 million in its opening weekend (in the US), with its $253 million total actually more than any pandemic-era release has earned in its entire domestic run.
Despite growing fears surrounding the Covid-19 Omicron variant, then, cinemagoers have braved theaters in their thousands to see where the biggest movie (so far) in Marvel’s Phase 4 takes the studio’s cinematic universe next.
It’s popularity comes as no surprise, though. No Way Home was inarguably the most anticipated Marvel movie since 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, and also became the subject of more rumors than Area 51 prior to release.
In the film, Peter Parker is, for the first time, forced to deal with the consequences of being unmasked. In an effort to rectify the situation, he enlists the help of magician Doctor Strange, and the pair unwittingly trigger a series of multiverse-opening events.
As for whether No Way Home marks the last movie in Tom Holland’s tenure as Spider-Man, the jury is out. Franchise producer Amy Pascal was recently quoted as saying that both Marvel and Sony are already planning for future Tom Holland-led Spidey movies, but insiders have since cast doubt on the claims.
With great power comes great responsibility
It’s all well and good that No Way Home seems to be single-handedly propping up the global box office – after 18 months of pandemic-induced hardship, it’s only fair that theaters reap as much revenue as possible during this difficult period.
But the success of Marvel’s latest blockbuster seems to be coming at the expense of other theatrical movie releases. Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, for instance, took just $3 million in its North American debut this weekend, despite an A-list cast and typically bankable director.
Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and Pixar’s Encanto also fell to similarly disappointing figures in only their second and third weeks of release, respectively, after Disney outsourced their marketing campaigns to subsidiaries with vastly reduced budgets.
In some cases, too, theaters have been asking ticket-holders for these lesser popular movies if they’d be willing to accept refunds to allow for more Spidey screenings.
True shit. Just got an email from my theater asking if I wanted to cancel my tickets for NIGHTMARE ALLEY because they cancelled every other show to free up the screen for more Spider-Man showings. pic.twitter.com/tpdfD7VjqGDecember 19, 2021
Nobody can blame cinemas for flocking to the nearest watering hole in times of drought – but it’s up to mega-studios like Disney to ensure that its tentpole releases don’t monopolize an already struggling industry.
- Everything we know about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Sign up to receive daily breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis, deals and more from the world of tech.
Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.
Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.