BY PAMELA MCCLINTOCK | HollywoodReporter.Com
Troy Warren for CNT #Entertainment
The superhero pic scored the No. 3 domestic debut of all time as moviegoing returned to pre-pandemic levels for the first time despite omicron. But not all are celebrating: ‘Nightmare Alley’ found coal in its Christmas stocking.
Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home spun a record-breaking web in its box office debut, grossing $253 million from 4,336 theaters to secure the third-biggest domestic opening of all time at the box office despite growing worries over the COVID-19 omicron variant.
Overseas — where the new variant is even more of a concern in certain markets, and particularly in Europe — the movie also made history, grossing $334.2 million for a global total of $587.2 million (without China). That’s the No. 3 global opening ever, not adjusted for inflation.
“This weekend’s historic results, from all over the world and in the face of many challenges, reaffirm the unmatched cultural impact that exclusive theatrical films can have when they are made and marketed with vision and resolve,” says Sony Motion Picture Group chair-CEO Tom Rothman, who has remained a huge proponent of an exclusive theatrical release.
Spider-Man: No Way Home set numerous other records as moviegoing returned to pre-pandemic levels for the first time in a defining moment for the box office recovery. Hollywood, however, would feel much better if the wealth were being spread around.
Even as No Way Home prospered, Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley became the latest adult-skewing title to sorely disappoint, with a fifth-place weekend opening of $3 million range despite a well-known director and A-list cast. And Steven Spielberg’s West Side Storytumbled a steep 67 percent in its second weekend, furthering the narrative that midrange movies and adult-skewing films are an endangered species theatrically amid the rise of streaming.
No Way Home is the first film in the COVID-19 era to zoom past $100 million in its domestic launch (until now, the biggest start was just $90 million). There’s more: The tentpole has already grossed more than any pandemic-era release has earned in its entire run domestically, a list topped by Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings($224.5 million).
The Sony and Marvel movie was buoyed by a coveted A+ CinemaScore, moviegoers between ages 18 and 34 and glowing exit scores, including a definite recommend score of 90 percent. (Rivals say the exits are “unreal.”) Spider-Man also attracted an ethnically diverse audience and did huge business in Imax theaters, which turned in $36.2 million globally, the No. 6 showing of all time in terms of Imax weekend openings.
Avengers: Endgame leads the list of all-time domestic openings with $357 million, followed by Avengers: Infinity War ($257.6 million), Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248 million), Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($220 million) and Jurassic World ($208.8 million), not adjusted for inflation.
Internationally, No Way Home is also shattering records despite omicron, which is prompting cinema closures and other restrictions in certain European markets. The movie grossed more than $180 million between Wednesday and Friday alone.
No Way Home, reuniting director Jon Watts and star Tom Holland, is from Sony’s Columbia Pictures, which controls the film rights to Spider-Man, and Disney’s Marvel Studios, home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Watt’s film combines three generations of Spider-Man movies and includes previous villain actors Willem Dafoe (2002’s Spider-Man), Alfred Molina (2004’s Spider-Man 2) and Jamie Foxx (2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2). It also stars Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau and Benedict Wong.
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