It was certainly expected that when Spider-Man: No Way Home hit theaters it was going to be a big box office win, but nobody quite expected it to be quite the win that it was. The final numbers for the movie’s opening weekend are now in and No Way Home grossed $260 million. This makes it one of the biggest movies of the year already, and gives it the second highest opening weekend ever, splitting the last two Avengers movies by putting it behind Endgame, but just ahead of Infinity War.
Avengers: Endgame had a monster opening weekend at $357 million, so that record was in no danger from Spider-Man: No Way Home, but Avengers: Infinity War “only” did $257 million when it opened, so according to Deadline, Spider-Man was able to wall crawl into second place with its total. We’re so used to looking at box office numbers in the last two years in terms of the pandemic, not even trying to compare them to box office numbers from before, but here we have no choice as pandemic numbers don’t even rank.
It’s certainly clear that if a movie comes along that people want to see enough, we can see the modern box office return to a pre-pandemic state. What’s unclear right now is if Spider-Man: No Way Home is an anomaly, or a sign of things returning to normal in general. Christmas is traditionally a big day at the movie theater, and we have The Matrix Resurrections hitting theatres this week. It could be another big movie theatrically, though that movie is being released on HBO Max on the same day, and that will certainly eat into the theatrical take, but by how much is hard to tell.
Because every other movie that was released in 2021 still needs the “pandemic era” label attached to its box office numbers, another record that Spider-Man: No Way Home has already achieved is the #1 movie of the year. Domestically, it has already achieved that, making more in its opening weekend than the current #2 movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, made in its entire run.
It will be interesting to see what kind of staying power No Way Home has. While the film is likely to remain at the top of the box office, it’s also possible that the film’s box office was very front loaded. There were so many rumors about what would happen and who might appear in the film that people who might have otherwise been willing to wait may have seen the movie opening weekend to avoid being spoiled.
At the same time, there could be enough people who want to see Spider-Man: No Way Home but wanted to avoid opening weekend crowds, that the movie could end up with significant legs under it.
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