New ‘Spider-Man’ flick destroys box office records on opening weekend

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It wasn’t supposed to be this way or, more accurately, no one really expected it: “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has destroyed box office records both in the U.S. and abroad on its opening weekend, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Box-office watchers knew going into the frame that Tom Holland’s third standalone outing as the Marvel superhero would be big, the only question was how big? Well, the answer is…absolutely massive,” Box Office Mojo reported Sunday.

The Sony offering scooped up $253 million in North America and an additional $334.2 million from overseas venues, “putting its mind-blowing bow at $587.2 million worldwide,” the outlet reported, which makes the film the third-biggest worldwide debut in history, behind the two latest ‘Avenger’ films.

Again — no one expected a Spidey splash this big, the outlet noted:

Considering all of the alarming news stories this past week about a new surge in COVID infections spurred by the Omicron variant, the hand-over-fist success of No Way Home caught many industry trackers off guard. Before the weekend kicked off, the latest Spidey installment (which also stars Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange) was forecast to open at between $130 and $150 million domestically.

But the film’s producers knew they were onto something bigger, as No Way Home raked in $121 million on the first day of its release; “Holland’s previous Spidey chapters—2017’s Homecoming and 2019’s Far From Home—opened to $117 million and $92.6 million domestically,” Box Office Mojo reported.

The outlet went on to note that the film is also getting great reviews from critics, “who gave the friendly neighborhood Spider-man’s latest” flick a 94-percent fresh rating at the film rating site Rotten Tomatoes. In addition, audiences thus far have given awarded the film an “A+” via CinemaScore, just the fourth live-action superhero tentpole to earn that high mark after 2012’s The Avengers, 2018’s Black Panther, and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.”

‘No Way Home’ is also the first U.S. film to open to more than $100 million on its first weekend since the pandemic began; Venom: Let There Be Carnage came close with a $90-million first-weekend haul in October.

“The PG-13-rated film’s $253 million three-day North American take came from 4,336 theaters where it earned a $58,348 per-screen average,” Box Office Mojo added. “It piled up an additional $334.2 million from 60 overseas markets, the biggest of which was the U.K. with $41.4 million. More good news on the foreign front: No Way Home has not even opened in China yet, where all things Marvel tend to do boffo business.”

The weekend’s runner-up films were not nearly so hot: Disney’s Encanto is in its fourth week, pulling in $6.5 million, followed by Stephen Spielberg’s modern take on the classic “West Side Story,” which has been panned as an overly-woke offering that has only managed to take in around $27 million worldwide in its second week.

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