Spider-Man: No Way Home Destroys Records With Its Spectacular Debut At The Box Office

Alfred Molina as Doc Ock in Spider-Man: No Way Home
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Back in October, Andy Serkis' Venom: Let There Be Carnage set a new box office record as a blockbuster released during the pandemic. Making $90.1 million in three days, it not only made more money in its opening weekend than any other title since March 2020, but it was the first major sequel to outgross its predecessor. It was an impressive achievement at the time... which makes what Jon Watts' Spider-Man: No Way Home just did border on the miraculous. The new Marvel Studios film not only surpassed the money made by Venom 2, but nearly tripled it.

Check out the full Top 10 in the chart below, and continue reading below for analysis!

Spider-Man No Way Home Box Office Opening Weekend December 17-19, 2021

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
1. Spider-Man: No Way Home$253,000,000 $253,000,000 Row 0 - Cell 3 4,336
2. Encanto$6,528,000 $81,544,607 23,525
3. West Side Story$3,416,000 $17,982,021 12,820
4. Ghostbusters: Afterlife$3,400,000 $117,249,884 33,282
5. Nightmare Alley$2,958,000 $2,958,000 Row 4 - Cell 3 2,145
6. House Of Gucci$1,854,219 $44,886,084 41,907
7. Eternals$1,192,000 $163,598,293 51,900
8. Clifford The Big Red Dog$399,975 $48,586,000 71,248
9. Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City$280,000 $16,732,990 6719
10. Venom: Let There Be Carnage$220,000 $212,413,049 10450

When Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Far From Home came out in the wake of Joe and Anthony Russo's Avengers: Endgame in the summer of 2019, it only managed to make $92.6 million – which should impress upon you how ridiculously massive these numbers are. There was concern that growing fears regarding the Omicron variant of COVID-19 were going to potentially take a big bite out of the gross, but looking at the results it doesn't look like it was a particularly influential factor in people's movie-going habits since Friday.

Not only is Spider-Man: No Way Home's opening weekend box office performance create a new high water mark for new releases since the start of the pandemic, but it's actually one of the most successful of all time. Not factoring in inflation, the only two movies that made more money in their first three days than the latest web-slinger blockbuster are the aforementioned Avengers: Endgame ($357.1 million) and Joe and Anthony Russo's Avengers: Infinity War ($257.7 million). This means that it was more successful than all of the Disney-era Star Wars movies, the Jurassic World duology, and even the first two Avengers films. That's remarkable.

Of course, what only adds insane fuel to the fire is the performance of Spider-Man: No Way Home in foreign markets, which when added to the domestic haul more than doubles the global gross. The movie doesn't have a confirmed release date in China yet, but it came out in theaters around the world simultaneously this weekend, and the outcome is awesome. The Marvel blockbuster has already made $587 million worldwide, making it already the sixth biggest release of 2021.

Spider-Man leaps in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

While the numbers themselves are eye-opening, it's certainly hard to call the success a surprise. Thanks to all of the hype surrounding the film's dip into the multiverse and past Spider-Man movies, the release has been hailed as one of the most anticipated 2021 features since the start of the year. Add in the overwhelmingly positive reviews that started pouring in last Monday, and a perfect formula for box office success was generated.

There was never any real doubt that Spider-Man: No Way Home would ultimately be declared the highest grossing domestic film of the year, but what we didn't know was how quickly it would grab the title; it turns out that the answer was three days. Destin Daniel Cretton's Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings has held on to the top spot since late September, as it was the first Hollywood title to eclipse $200 million at home – but it ended its run with $224.5 million, which is a number that the latest Spider-Man just surpassed.

The Draw Of Spider-Man: No Way Home Definitely Took Attention Away From Other Big Screen Releases

The movie theater industry obviously has to be elated by the success of Spider-Man: No Way Home, as the influx of customers seeing the Marvel blockbuster like back in pre-pandemic times must have been blissful – though at the same time it's hard not to notice that the success of the new release didn't exactly lead to a "rising tide lifts all boats" situation. More money came into the box office this weekend than any other Friday-to-Sunday in 2021, but it's hard not to notice that achievement was done with only one title making north of $10 million.

One of the bigger disappointments this past weekend was Guillermo del Toro's Nightmare Alley – which was given a strange release date considering it's being distributed by 20th Century Films, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company, which has a lot of stock in the success of Marvel Studios' Spider-Man: No Way Home. The film is the first del Toro has made since the Best Picture-winning The Shape of Water in 2017, and the dark noir has gotten some great reviews, but it was mysteriously stuck in the shadow of the wall-crawler, and has been given little chance to really succeed. Hopefully word of mouth will do it some favors in the coming weeks.

Looking at the rest of the chart, the movie world was shocked last weekend when Steven Spielberg's West Side Story only managed to make $10.5 million during its debut, and things didn't exactly improve this time around. The desire to see Spider-Man swinging around the streets of New York instead of gangs rumbling in the streets was made very clear in the musical's second weekend results, as the feature took a 68 percent plunge and added only $3.4 million to its domestic total. This means that it is still waiting to hit the $20 million mark (it presently sits at about $18 million), which is definitely not great when you consider that the reported budget of the title is about $100 million (according to Variety).

Expect Spider-Man: No Way Home To Dominate Again In Its Second Weekend.

Given that a steep 60 percent fall in its second weekend would still result in Spider-Man: No Way Home having the second best Friday-to-Sunday performance of 2021, it seems fairly easy to predict at this point that the film will still be called the number one movie in America next week. That being said, there are some other huge titles coming that will hopefully give the Marvel movie some real competition and keep movie theaters flooded with masked audiences.

There is a trio of anticipated titles set to arrive on the big screen this Wednesday, including Lana Wachowski's The Matrix Resurrections (which will also be available on HBO Max), Matthew Vaughn's The King's Man (a prequel to the two Kingsman blockbusters), and Garth Jennings' Sing 2 (the animated sequel to 2016's Sing). There is an expectation that these titles will do a solid job mixing up the Top 10 in a major way, so be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to see how all of the cards fall.

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.