How ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Swung to a Record $600 Million Debut Despite the Pandemic

Spidey topped the opening weekend of ”Avengers: Infinity War“ by promising fans what the ”Avengers“ films provide: an epic crossover

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The numbers for Sony/Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home” are nothing short of historic. With a $260 million domestic and $600 million global opening — and both could go up after Sunday results are reported — the studio now has a film that stands among the top three biggest launches of all time.

With this result, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” now has the third largest global opening and the second largest domestic opening in box office history, beating the $257 million domestic opening of “Avengers: Infinity War.” It is now virtually guaranteed to become the first film since the pandemic began to gross over $1 billion worldwide — even if it doesn’t get a release in China.

So even as the pandemic continues to keep large swaths of the public away from theaters, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” had something even bigger than COVID fears: crossover appeal. Though it might not be an “Avengers” film, “No Way Home” was able to make “Avengers”-level money because it had the same promise of an epic mashup of comic book movie stars from multiple films, like Benedict Cumberbatch from “Doctor Strange,” that Marvel fans cherish.

But not only did Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange make an extended appearance, “No Way Home” stretches past the MCU timeline to Spidey’s cinematic past, with fans being teased for months that the film would see Tom Holland meet up with the heroes and villains of blockbusters that paved the way for the ongoing domination of superhero movies.

And as anyone who has seen the film can attest, the film matched the hype. Clips have surfaced on social media of sold-out auditoriums cheering and screaming every time one of the villains from Sam Raimi and Marc Webb’s “Spider-Man” entries stepped onto the big screen, culminating in roaring elation over the long-rumored appearance of additional stars from past Spidey films. It’s the same kind of cheers that were heard back in 2019 when Captain America picked up Thor’s hammer and gathered all of the MCU heroes together to take on Thanos in “Avengers: Endgame.”

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • • Twitter: @jeremyfuster