As Spider-Man: No Way Home Crosses $1 Billion At The Box Office, The Matrix Resurrections Struggles In Its Opening Weekend

Spider-Man and Doctor Strange in Spider-Man: No Way Home
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

As expected, Jon Watts' Spider-Man: No Way Home has continued to dominate at the box office. The Marvel blockbuster not only annihilated all previously existing theatrical release records going back to the start of the pandemic in March 2020, but  it also had the second biggest opening of all time, and it just keeps adding big numbers to its global total. Unfortunately, what's good news for the web-slinger is bad news for Lana Wachowski's The Matrix Resurrections, which is struggling big time on the big screen.

Check out the full Top 10 chart for the weekend below, and join me after for analysis! 

Spider-Man: No Way Home Weekend Box Office December 24-26, 2021

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
1. Spider-Man: No Way Home$81,500,000 $467,331,855 14,336
2. Sing 2$23,760,000 $39,405,000 Row 1 - Cell 3 3,892
3. The Matrix Resurrections$12,000,000 $22,500,000 Row 2 - Cell 3 3,552
4. The King’s Man$6,350,000 $10,009,631 Row 3 - Cell 3 3,180
5. West Side Story$2,800,000 $23,915,766 32,810
6. Licorice Pizza$2,327,000 $3,665,819 Row 5 - Cell 3 786
7. A Journal For Jordan$2,200,000 $2,200,000 Row 6 - Cell 3 2,500
8. Encanto$2,000,000 $88,277,840 22,800
9. Ghostbusters: Afterlife$1,235,000 $120,460,060 41,728
10. Eternals$218,000 $164,500,534 7360

Spider-Man Took A Big Weekend-To-Weekend Dip, But It Also Hit A Massive Milestone

As far as percentage drops go, the news for Spider-Man: No Way Home isn't really all rosy, as an $81.5 million haul represents a 69 percent drop from its opening weekend – but when you're talking about numbers this big (especially after the last two years) it's hard to focus on the negative. After all, had the MCU film only debuted with that number, it will would still rank as the second best opening weekend of 2021 behind the $90 million made by Andy Serkis' Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Cate Shortland's Black Widow would still hold third place, having made $80.4 million in its first three days back in July.) 

The domestic gross for Spider-Man: No Way Home has grown over $467 million, which is particularly huge when you note that it is now the first film since the start of the pandemic to have made over $1 billion worldwide. And not only will it continue to make money in all of the markets in which it is currently playing as we move into January 2022, but the blockbuster is also still waiting to get its release date in China.

Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Far From Home made nearly $200 million when it played in the Asian nation back in 2019, and there is every possibility that the sequel will be able to match that number or maybe even do better.

When Spider-Man: No Way Home does start playing in China, it will only create more distance between itself and the rest of the big box office blockbusters out of Hollywood this year. Two Chinese films – Dante Lam, Chen Kaige, and Tsui Hark's The Battle at Lake Changjin and Jia Ling's Hi, Mom – presently occupy the number two and three slots in the ranking of 2021 worldwide grosses, and they are followed by Cary Joji Fukunaga's No Time To Die ($771 million) and Justin Lin's F9 ($721 million).

Suffice it to say, Spider-Man: No Way Home's performance is unprecedented compared to every other big screen release we've seen in the last 21 months .By the end of its run, it will be fascinating to see how its numbers compare to the past successes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (overall, it is presently the 10th highest grossing title in the franchise).

Neo with Bugs go into a door in The Matrix Resurrections

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Matrix Resurrections Seriously Underperformed Compared To Expectations

The movie theater industry has a lot to celebrate thanks to the success of Spider-Man: No Way Home, but The Matrix Resurrections is not getting anywhere near the kind of audience love that box office prognosticators expected for the legacy sequel. The movie was released this past Wednesday instead of this past Friday, and estimates said that the expanded opening weekend could earn the feature a haul of $55 million... but as you can see in the chart above, the film didn't make anywhere near that much money. In fact, it made less than half of that.

So what went wrong? There are two big factors that stick out blatantly. The first is what seems to be either an underestimation of Spider-Man's general popularity, or an overestimation of The Matrix's. Warner Bros. executives were clearly hoping that the two blockbusters could share the late December space (which, in normal years, regularly has multiple big titles arriving simultaneously), but rather than audiences making plans to see both films in cinemas, they are clearly showing a preference for one over the other.

The other obvious fly in the ointment here is that The Matrix Resurrections isn't a theatrical exclusive. While movie-goers had no choice but to buy a ticket at their local cineplex to see Spider-Man: No Way Home, the new Matrix sequel is presently available to stream online so long as you have an HBO Max subscription. It's wholly believable that audiences at large opted for the streaming option A) having just spent money to go see the newest Marvel movie, and/or B) out of fear of the COVID-19 Omicron variant that is spreading.

Unfortunately, we can't say for certain just how popular The Matrix Resurrections is because Warner Bros. opts not to put out any subscription or audience behavior data for titles on HBO Max.

With Matrix Resurrections Disappointing, Sing 2 Stole The Number Two Spot 

Further supporting the idea of blaming the streaming option for The Matrix Resurrection's underperforming is the success of Garth Jennings' Sing 2 – another big screen exclusive. The new release from Illumination Entertainment didn't put up numbers quite as significant as its 2016 predecessor, which made $56 million over an extended Christmas weekend, but it still has plenty to hang its hat on. 

Nobody expected it to put up numbers like Spider-Man: No Way Home, but it faced off against a long list of new/expanded releases – including The Matrix sequel, Matthew Vaughn's The King's Man, Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza, and Denzel Washington's A Journal For Jordan – and still had no issue taking a silver medal.

Looking ahead, next weekend will be kind of a funny one. Given the strange way that the end of the year is lining up with the movie release calendar, the next wide release won't be hitting theaters until January 7, 2022. This in mind, Spider-Man: No Way Home will surely win the box office again, but how will the rest of the the titles in the Top 10 fare? Head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to find out.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.