Since the epidemic brought moviegoing to a grinding stop almost two years ago, Hollywood has been plagued by a growing sense of foreboding and dread. What if the movies are never able to recover? Is it possible that the doubters who are penning big-screen eulogies are correct?
Because of this, there was a distinct feeling of relief — even euphoria — that flowed over the movie capital over the weekend when “Spider-Man: No Way Home” opened to record-breaking ticket sales. Thomas E. Rothman, the head of Sony Pictures Entertainment, explained over the phone that the reference was to the tabloid newspaper in the Spider-Man comics. “Spidey comes to the rescue!”
According to Comscore, which gathers box office statistics, “No Way Home” grossed an estimated $253 million in cinemas throughout the United States and Canada in its opening weekend. The fact that over 20 million people left their homes to see a blockbuster movie, prying themselves away from their streaming services, was a reflection, box office analysts said, of the film’s novel “multiverse” storytelling, a pent-up desire to be a part of a big cultural moment, and, perhaps, fatigue with the impact of the pandemic on their daily lives.
It was the best opening weekend performance in the franchise’s 19-year history, which has included eight live-action Spider-Man movies. And it was the third-highest grossing film in the history of Hollywood, behind only “Avengers: Endgame” ($357 million) and “Avengers: Infinity War” ($258 million) at the box office.
According to Comscore, no movie has achieved more than $90 million in American opening-weekend sales since “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in 2019. (The Sony-produced film “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” grossed $90 million in its first three days of release in October. The “Venom” sequel, like the previous film “No Way Home,” was only available in cinemas, with no option for simultaneous streaming.)
The sales of “No Way Home” tickets, according to IMAX’s chief executive, Richard L. Gelfond, “serve as an unequivocal reminder of the unique power of the theatrical experience.” IMAX had its finest weekend since the beginning of 2019.
According to Sony, the film “No Way Home,” directed by Jon Watts and reuniting Tom Holland as Peter Parker and Zendaya as Michael Jackson, earned an extra $334.2 million in international box office revenue. The company said that the film’s global gross of $587.2 million set a new record for its principal division, Columbia Pictures, which was formed in 1918 and is based in Los Angeles.
Of course, movie theatres continue to confront significant challenges, not the least of which is the Omicron coronavirus variety, which has resulted in a worldwide outbreak of illnesses and the implementation of more stringent safety measures. “The ‘Spider-Man’ statistics are fantastic, but the company is not out of the woods until Covid recedes and is regarded something like the flu,” said David A. Gross, the founder of the film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research, in an email.
Look no farther than “Nightmare Alley,” a spectacular noir thriller starring an all-star ensemble that opened in 2,145 cinemas throughout North America on Friday. This outcome, which Mr. Gross described as “a reminder of the components of the company that are still flawed,” resulted in a terrible $3 million collection. “Nightmare Alley,” directed and co-written by Guillermo del Toro, is a horror film that is reported to have cost Searchlight Pictures, which is owned by Disney, $60 million to produce.
In recent years, movies aimed at older audiences — such as “Nightmare Alley,” “West Side Story,” “King Richard,” and “The Last Duel” — have struggled to find success at the box office, analysts say. They have been held back in part because older women, in particular, continue to be concerned about the coronavirus. Furthermore, viewers do not seem to be in the mood for anything dark and gloomy, and “Nightmare Alley” is completely dark.
The long-brewing fear that superhero sequels and other fantastical spectacles are driving more modest films out of cinemas received more validation over the weekend with the release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. According to Steve Buck, the chief strategy officer at EntTelligence, a research business, “No Way Home” accounted for 90 percent of total film attendance; 62 percent of the seats in North American cinemas were reserved for the film, which was shown in 4,336 sites throughout the country.
Exit surveys conducted by CinemaScore revealed that “No Way Home” received a rare A-plus rating from ticket purchasers, a sign that word of mouth will be strong and that the picture would continue to earn huge amounts in the weeks to come. It is customary for the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day to be the busiest season of the year for moviegoing attendance.
“No Way Home,” like the “Avengers” films, brings together characters and storylines from a variety of previous films, making the picture a must-see event for fans of the franchise. In the episode “No Way Home,” Peter Parker seeks the assistance of Doctor Strange. In the process of ripping a hole in the world, the villains and Spideys from previous films are released, which is a spoiler alert…. Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx, Alfred Molina, and Willem Dafoe, who reprises his role as the Green Goblin, are among the cast members.
“This is a revolutionary approach to a superhero film, one that has never been attempted before, and audiences are reacting positively to that creative risk,” Rothman added. “In order to be successful in this business, movies must be excellent. “Not good — fantastic.”