“Spider-Man: No Way Home,” starring Tom Holland in his third Spider-Man film in Sony and Marvel’s franchise, brought in $50 million in its preview showings that started at 3 p.m. Thursday from 3,767 screens, which is the third-highest preview opening of all time. It opens wide and exclusively in theaters on approximately 4,325 screens this weekend.
The film shattered several records, including tripling the debut of “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” as it’s also the biggest preview release for Sony Pictures and the second-highest December preview. And its $50 million is inclusive of all IMAX and PLF screens, $10.1 million of which came from Imax screens. For Imax, that was likewise its third, highest-ever domestic preview opening.
And “No Way Home” ranks only behind “Avengers: Endgame,” which brought in $60 million in previews ($357.1 million 3-day), and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which made $57 million ($247.9 million). “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” now slides into fourth place with its $45 million preview ($220 million).
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” figures to be the biggest movie of the year and of the pandemic, and it has matched that hype and excitement with presales that are not only the biggest of the year, but are the best preview sales of any film since “Avengers: Endgame,” according to Fandango. And Cinemark even jumped the gun before box office figures were released and said the film had the theater chain’s best opening night of all time.
But while the studio has pegged “No Way Home” at a $130 million opening weekend start, trackers think it could get easily to $150 million, if not swing even higher. It has a $200 million budget.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” back in July 2017, made $15.4 million in its previews and opened to $117 million domestically, while the follow-up film “Spider-Man: Far From Home” had the biggest Tuesday opening ever ahead of its Fourth of July opening in 2019, bringing in $39.2 million, though it opened to $92.5 million across three days. But for some other comps, “Avengers: Infinity War,” made $39 million and went on to gross $258 million over its three-day opening, and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” made $29 million in its Thursday previews and went on to a $155 million opening.
None of those films however opened during a pandemic, so a more pertinent comp might be Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which made $8.8 million at the Thursday box office and opened to $75 million. And Sony’s own “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” from this fall beat its predecessor and made $11.6 million on Thursday before a $90 million opening.
And while presales are high, it remains to be seen whether audiences will be eager to come out as walk-ups with the threat of the Omicron COVID variant looming. The good news is that “No Way Home” boasts a 94% Rotten Tomatoes score and is opening in the weekend before Christmas with the expectation that it will perform well into the holiday.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” picks up where “Far From Home” left off, with Spider-Man’s secret identity of Peter Parker outed to the world and with his former foe Mysterio framing Parker for his death. With no privacy, Peter turns to Doctor Strange to cast a spell that will restore his secret, but the spell goes wrong and opens up portals into the multiverse and other universes in which some of Spider-Man’s biggest foes across other universes all pour into this world.
Jon Watts returns to direct the film, which was written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, based on the comics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal are producers and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, JoAnn Perritano, Rachel O’Connor, Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are executive producers. The film stars Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau with Marisa Tomei.