No Way Home’ Passes ‘The Force Awakens’ With $253 Million Opening

Sony/Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has continued to soar up the all-time box office charts with a $73 million opening Saturday, pushing its estimated opening weekend up to $253 million from 4,336 theaters and above the $247 million launch of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

That means that Spidey has webbed up the record for the biggest December opening in box office history and now sits third on the all-time opening list. If the film continues to beat industry estimates on Sunday, it will pass the $257 million opening of “Avengers: Infinity War” for the No. 2 spot.

In a year where no film had earned an opening weekend above $100 million and the financial performance of big releases was judged on a pandemic curve, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has turned in another historic performance as it is now responsible for five of the eight $200 million-plus opening weekends in industry history.

The 18-35 demographic, which has had a much larger share of audience turnout than in pre-pandemic times, has filled up theaters nationwide with social media filling up with clips of fans cheering wildly at the arrival of various characters from past “Spider-Man” films. On Thursday, 75% of the audience for “No Way Home” came from 18-35 moviegoers.

And with excellent reception across the board, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is on its way to legging out very well through the holiday season from both casual audiences and hardcore fans coming back for repeat screenings. Rotten Tomatoes scores are 94% critics and 99% audience, going with an A+ on CinemaScore and a 91% recommend rating on Postrak.

“This weekend’s historic Spider-Man: No Way Home results, from all over the world and in the face of many challenges, reaffirm the unmatched cultural impact that exclusive theatrical films can have when they are made and marketed with vision and resolve,” Sony Chairman/CEO Tom Rothman said in a statement. “All of us at Sony Pictures, are deeply grateful to the fabulous talent, both in front of and behind the camera, that produced such a landmark film.”

The one thing that could take out Spidey’s legs? The Omicron variant. This weekend, COVID-19 infections have seen a significant surge across almost all of the U.S., most notably in New York, where the daily new case rate reached an all-time high as Broadway performances were cancelled and “Saturday Night Live” aired its final episode of the year with a limited cast and crew and no studio audience.

There’s always the chance that if this surge continues, it could put a dent in moviegoing confidence and damage holdover numbers for “No Way Home,” as well as the openings of films like “The Matrix Resurrections” and “Sing 2” that are coming out for Christmas weekend. But so far, COVID has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of Spidey fans who grew up seeing the webslinger on the big screen.

More to come…

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