2022 Box Office Preview: Sony

Image courtesy: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Marvel.

2022 Preview

Sony will begin to build off the success of Spider-Man: No Way Home in February with another Tom Holland vehicle targeting young male audiences: the video game adaptation Uncharted. After spending years in development, the action-adventure franchise will have two weekends to make an impact at the box office before the release of Warner Bros.’ The Batman steals its thunder on March 4. 

Morbius, the next entry in Sony’s Spider-Man universe, will finally hit theaters on April 1. The anti-hero title has suffered a multitude of scheduling setbacks, most recently abandoning its late January date in favor of an April 1 debut. Doubts about the title’s connection with audiences have only grown louder with each of the date changes—but the same was once said about Sony’s Venom franchise, today one of the studio’s premier properties. 

Q3 will see Sony introduce an original title from Atomic Blonde director David Leitch, the ensemble action-thriller Bullet Train. Early footage from this title was warmly received by exhibitors at CinemaCon 2021, creating early buzz among those present about the film’s future prospects. Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock headline the film’s ensemble cast, currently scheduled to open in the middle of a crowded July that also includes Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru, Disney’s Thor: Love and Thunder, and Warner Bros.’ Black Adam

Spider-Man makes his return to the big screen in Q4 through Sony’s animated iteration of the franchise. Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse Part 1 opens on October 7 and should kick off a strong final quarter for the domestic market.

2021 Recap

Sony began 2021 conservatively, deciding to reschedule or sell off titles until the market showed signs of recovery. The only major studio to not count on a dedicated streaming platform, Sony held firm in its position to maintain theatrical exclusivity for any release under its banner. This stance was best expressed during the studio’s presentation at CinemaCon 2021, where Tom Rothman, head of Sony’s motion pictures group, expressed in plain and direct terms the company’s strategy at the box office: theatrical exclusivity. 

The studio scheduled a strong trio of films to open in consecutive months over Q4. The strategy paid off. Venom: Let There Be Carnage exceeded expectations by setting a new pandemic benchmark when it opened to $90 million in October—the highest debut of the pandemic at the time. A month later, Ghostbusters: Afterlife opened to $44 million and sustained its momentum at the box office to finish among the year’s top ten films. 

The crowning achievement came in December. The market was only days removed from the high-profile collapse of West Side Story and murmurs of a new Covid-19 variant potentially sapping the opening weekend of Spider-Man: No Way Home despite strong presales. Those concerns never materialized; Spider-Man: No Way Home scored the second-highest opening weekend of all-time at the domestic box office. By the end of the year, the Spider-Man sequel had become Sony’s highest grossing film of all-time.

Sony finished 2021 days away from surpassing Disney as the year’s top grossing studio in North America. It was the only studio to have two titles cross $200 million at the domestic box office—and the first company to launch a billion dollar film during the pandemic. 

2022 Theatrical Slate

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America (Sony Pictures Classics) | January 14

Compartment No. 6 (Sony Pictures Classics) | January 26

Uncharted | February 18

Mothering Sunday (Sony Pictures Classics) | February 25

The Duke (Sony Pictures Classics) | March 25

Morbius | April 1

65 | April 29

Oh Hell No | June 17

Bullet Train | July 15

The Man from Toronto | August 12

The Bride | August 26

The Woman King | September 16

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Part 1 | October 7

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile | November 18

I Wanna Dance with Somebody | December 23

2021 Domestic Box Office Performance

2021 Domestic Box Office Total: $1.05 Billion (Second Place)

Spider-Man: No Way Home
December 17 | $572.9M 

Venom: Let There Be Carnage
October | $212.6M

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
November 19 | $122.3M

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
June 11 | $40.3M

Don’t Breathe 2
August 13 | $32.6M

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
July 16 | $25.1M

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
November 24 | $16.9M

The Unholy
April 2 | $15.5M

A Journal for Jordan
December 25 | $3.9M

12 Mighty Orphans
June 11 | $3.6M

The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
February 26 | $1.8M

Image courtesy: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Marvel.