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Spider-Man: No Way Home has opened to rave reviews and an outstanding opening weekend (I saw it earlier today, and it was great). With over $260M dollars grossed including Thursday previews, it not only achieved the second-largest opening weekend of all time domestically, it is also already the highest-grossing movie of the past two calendar years. Assuming a roughly 2.5x multiplier, it should gross around $650M domestically, making it the first movie since The Rise of Skywalker to not only pass the $300M mark (a milestone passed by nine films released in 2019), but the $500M mark as well.

No Way Home's performance at the box office was a very important indicator of the long-term health of movie theaters as entertainment venues. Even after cinemas reopened after months of COVID-related closures in 2020, many big movies had already pushed back, and when finally released they all had rather disappointing returns at the box office. Of the three MCU films released this year prior to Spider-Man, Shang-Chi was the only one to even cross the $200M mark. Also, until this past weekend Shang-Chi was the only one of two films in general (MCU or otherwise) to pass that milestone, the other being Venom 2 (Black Widow may have passed that milestone as well had it not released on Disney+, but we'll never know for sure). That put the first three films of Phase Four squarely towards the bottom of the pack for best showings in the series, and were the worst-performing MCU films since 2015's Ant-Man. Considering how many films have under-performed this year, it appeared that audiences were apprehensive about returning to cinemas in full force.

No Way Home's massive opening weekend showing has shown that audiences may be more inclined to start showing up to theaters at pre-COVID levels again. While it remains to be seen if that will hold in the face of new variants of the disease, it does show that theaters could potentially make a full recovery. While it's debatable if that's a good thing in the face of a pandemic with seemingly no end (and let's keep the arguments about that in the COVID thread, please), at the very least it would be a good for cinemas and the long-term viability of the big-screen experience. 2022's slate of MCU films as well as other big tentpole releases like Jurassic World 3 and Avatar 2 will determine if Spider-Man's outstanding performance was a fluke or not.

So far, No Way Home's performance is most comparable to that of Avengers: Infinity War, the film that held the previous #2 spot for largest opening weekend. The only other big film with a similar opening weekend was The Force Awakens, which now sits at #4 (adjusted for ticket price inflation, TFA now sits at the #3 spot while Infinity War sits at #4). TFA was the leggiest mega-blockbusters of the past decade, so we shouldn't expect No Way Home to have as huge of a multiplier as that film, but I will include some other films with similar debuts and with lifetime adjusted grosses in the roughly $600-700M range in the charts I have forthcoming, including Spider-Man 2002, currently the most successful Spidey film (it might take me a few hours to gather data, plus I need to start getting ready to make dinner). I would put Homecoming and Far From Home in the comparisons, but unless NWH has atrocious legs it will blow its predecessors out of the water.

Here are some comparison charts. The first is daily and LTD cumulative daily grosses for NWH vs. Infinity War and Black Panther, the two MCU films most directly comparable to it in performance at the moment. This chart will only cover the first three weeks. The second chart will compare NWH's weekly grosses to the inflation-adjusted weekly grosses of other major 21st century blockbusters (see the next to last paragraph on my reply on Jan. 1 for more information regarding likely margins of error).

Last edited by Shadow1980 - on 19 March 2022


In accordance to the VGC forum rules, §8.5, I hereby exercise my right to demand to be left alone regarding the subject of the effects of the pandemic on video game sales (i.e., "COVID bump").