news ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Saves the Box Office From Total Collapse

This weekend’s total box office, around $64 million, represents just under 50 percent of the same weekend in 2020. Even so: It was better than anticipated and brought the four-week running comparison to 76 percent — its highest mark in more than two months.

Almost all the credit goes to “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which had a 41 percent drop — significantly less than anticipated. It took in an additional $33 million ($6 million above pre-weekend estimate of $27 million) for a $669 million domestic total ($1.53 billion worldwide). For theaters, the MCU smash remains the difference between holding on and complete collapse.

January is usually a perfectly fine month for theaters thanks to the carryover of multiple strong December films, expansion of awards contenders, and its own share of strong new releases. This year has only “Spider-Man” and the hope that “Scream” next weekend can exceed expectations.

(from left) Graciela (Penélope Cruz), Khadijah (Lupita Nyong'o), Marie (Diane Kruger) and Mason “Mace” (Jessica Chastain) in The 355, co-written and directed by Simon Kinberg.

The 355

Photo Credit: Robert Viglasky/Un

“The 355” (Universal) was meant to be this January’s hot genre title, but the all-star female spy thriller (acquired by the studio for a reported $20 million, plus marketing) grossed $4.8 million. It’s disappointing, but it could have been worse; it came in at the high end of predictions.

It’s as good as could be expected, considering the rampant surge of Omicron, total shutdowns in Canada’s two largest provinces, wintry blasts in the northeast, and fresh competition from home platforms as Amazon debuted George Clooney’s “The Tender Bar,” while “Sing 2” and “Ghostbusters: Aftermath” went to Premium VOD.

This will catch studios’ attention: “Sing 2” fell 41 percent, the same amount as “Spider-Man” — even though it could be viewed (for $24.99) at home. That’s better than this pre-PVOD weekend in 2017, when “Sing” dropped 52 percent in its third weekend. “Ghostbusters” dropped 23 percent, despite home play.

The first weekend of 2020 had a bigger #1 title with the expansion of “1917” scoring $37 million. Four films grossed over $10 million and everything in the top 10 made over $5 million. This year, only “Spider-Man” and “Sing” managed more than $10 million and everything else fell below $5 million.

Sony can now claim the third highest domestic total ever (unadjusted) for “Spider-Man” In reality, it hasn’t overtaken “Titanic” (adjusted gross $1.24 million) or other titles. Even adjusted, however, it’s the biggest film ever from Sony or predecessor Columbia, overtaking “Ghostbusters.” On the adjusted list, it is now the #35 biggest domestic film and will climb much higher.

Disney’s January 7 announcement that it converted Pixar’s “Turning Red” from a March 4 theatrical release to a Disney+ exclusive is a significant blow to exhibition. All hopes are now on “Scream,” but the prospects are bleak for now until Warner Bros. opens ‘”The Batman” March 4.

Parallel-Mothers.jpeg

Parallel Mothers

Also bleak: The specialized world. Pedro Almodovar’s “Parallel Mothers” (Sony Pictures Classics) shows a pulse with $76,517 in 18 theaters. In October 2019, when “Pain and Glory” expanded to 23 theaters in its third weekend, it grossed $217,000. Hope remains that with some awards momentum (Penelope Cruz added another best actress win from the National Society of Film Critics) and little long-term competition, it could end up with improved results.

The Top Ten

1. Spider-Man: No Way Home
(Sony) Week 4; Last weekend #1

$33,015,000 (-41%) in 4,012 (-194) theaters; PTA: $8,229; Cumulative: $668,753,000

2. Sing 2 (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #2; also on Premium VOD

$11,950,000 (-41%) in 3,713 (-179) theaters; PTA: $3,218; Cumulative: $109,013,000

3. The 355 (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 40; Acquisition cost: $20 million

$4,800,000 in 3,145 theaters; PTA: $1,526; Cumulative: $4,800,000

4. The King’s Man (Disney) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$3,272,000 (-28%) in 3,040 (-140) theaters; PTA: $1,076; Cumulative: $25,091,000

5. American Underdog (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #4

$2,413,000 (-38%) in 2,729 (-84) theaters; PTA: $885; Cumulative: $18,740,000

6. Matrix Resurrections (Warner Bros.) Week 3; Last weekend #5 ; also on HBO Max

$1,860,000 (-51%) in 2,875 (-677) theaters; PTA: $647; Cumulative: $34,317,000

7. West Side Story (Disney) Week 5; Last weekend #6

$1,413,000 (-35%) in 2,290 (-400) theaters; PTA: $617; Cumulative: $32,150,000

8. Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony) Week 8; Last weekend #7; also on Premium VOD

$1,140,000 (-23%) in 1,501 (-144) theaters; PTA: $759; Cumulative: $125,064,000

9. Licorice Pizza (United Artists) Week 7; Last weekend #8

$1,028,000 (-21%) in 772 (-14) theaters; PTA: $1,332; Cumulative: $8,199,000

10. House of Gucci (United Artists) Week 8; Last weekend #12

$632,348 (-21%) in 607 (-100) theaters; PTA: $1,042; Cumulative: $50,086,000

Additional specialized/limited/independent releases

Parallel Mothers (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3

$76,517 in 18 (+15) theaters; Cumulative: $216,492

Nightmare Alley (Searchlight) Week 4

$592,000 in 1,910 (-225) theaters; Cumulative: $8,735,000

Red Rocket (A24) Week 5 385

$63,293 in 144 (-241) theaters; Cumulative: $894,635

Drive My Car (Janus) Week 7

$44,900 in 29 (+13) theaters; Cumulative: $399,230

C’mon C’mon (A24) Week 6; also on Premium VOD

$12,536 in 26 (no change) theaters; Cumulative: $1,871,000

The French Dispatch (Searchlight) Week 12; also on Premium VOD

$35,000 in 45 (-10) theaters; Cumulative: $16,047,000
 
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