'Spider-Man: No Way Home' Breaks Box Office but Asks Important Questions
By Matt Chieco
A huge congratulations is in order because the box office estimates for this past weekend had 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' making $253 million domestically and another $334.2 million from overseas, putting the movie at an astounding $587.2 million worldwide. This would make the latest Spider-Man installment the third-biggest global debut of all time, falling only behind 'Avengers: Endgame' and 'Avengers: Infinity War'. The record-breaking news led to an abundance of headlines praising the movie's success, especially during the ongoing pandemic.
Yet, the final numbers for the weekend showed that Peter Parker’s latest adventure actually made MORE MONEY!!! The movie ended its opening weekend with $260.1 million domestically, $340.8 million overseas, and $600.9 million worldwide. The updated numbers kept 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' at number three for the biggest global debut but jumped up to number two for the biggest opening weekend domestically, beating 'Avengers: Infinity War' and coming behind 'Avengers: Endgame'.
But after a less than stellar year at the box office, these impressive numbers have me asking a couple of important questions.
*BEWARE OF SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT*
1)Can tentpole movies only succeed at the box office?
With the pandemic and streaming dominating Hollywood, casual theatergoers have become more selective about which movies they choose to see. This means movies have to offer a distinctive theatrical element (and be good, of course) to persuade people not to wait for the now shorter release window. So, does that mean only blockbusters and four-quadrant movies stand a chance? If this is the new reality, many more executives might choose to release movies straight to streaming over an exclusive theatrical release because, based on the data from 2021, that's where the money seems to be.
2)Does your movie have to have an element of nostalgia to bring in a crowd?
Reading the questions before will probably make you think…even blockbusters are underperforming, and you're right. This leads to the next question: Does your movie need to evoke some sort of nostalgia? If you look at the top three opening weekends domestically—'Avengers: Endgame', 'Avengers: Infinity War', and 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'—all three have something in common: elements from past movies coming together in one theatrical event. While 'Endgame' and 'Infinity War' summed up a cinematic universe’s story, 'No Way Home' took three different Spider-Man iterations and used them to conclude Tom Holland’s trilogy in the most perfect way. Oh, and by the way...the second thing they have in common is that all three movies attracted a lot of viewers, which nowadays is very difficult to accomplish.
To cut a long story short, with the pandemic, it seems like these two things have hindered the box office. In actuality, the movie industry is in such a tricky spot that it’s really hard to pinpoint one specific reason why things are changing.
Marvel Studios’ 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' is now in theaters."