Saturday Update: Sony and Marvel Studios are proving once again the value of an all-audience, mega-tentpole in movie theaters as Spider-Man: No Way Home is crushing COVID-19 era box office records and rivaling pre-pandemic benchmarks with the biggest domestic opening day in December history and second best of all time.
The massively anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe installment scored $121.5 million domestically on opening day Friday, including Thursday’s previously reported $50 million preview gross and landing toward the upper end of our final forecasts. The overall opening day figure already makes it the highest opening weekend of any film in two years, and by extension, the first $100 million-plus weekend of the pandemic.
Internationally, the film stands at $181.4 million through Friday, making for a running global tally of $302.9 million entering Saturday. Top market breakdowns are listed below.
Back on the domestic front: For historic perspectives, No Way Home‘s day one earnings topped Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ $119.1 million opening day in 2015, the previous December record entering this weekend. Looking down the all-time charts, No Way Home‘s Friday also ranks number two in history — trailing only Avengers: Endgame‘s $157.5 million in April 2019.
Projections remain fluid this early in the weekend, but Friday’s results do begin to provide further insights.
With $71.5 million earned after Thursday’s previews, Spidey’s share of opening day business ended up leaning heavier on Friday proper than Thursday when compared to the multipliers of three of the four Star Wars films to open in recent Decembers. That’s not surprising, given the typical front-loading of Star Wars fans to early shows, but No Way Home would have understandably been more Thursday-heavy due to its earlier 3pm showtime start.
That wasn’t the case, though. At 2.43x, the film’s Friday multiplier from previews ended up comparable to Rogue One‘s 2.45x.
Marvel films have a consistent habit of playing very strongly throughout the weekend as demand often scales very well. The beginning of holiday breaks and vacations should help No Way Home maintain that status quo, an expectation so far backed up by robust ticket sales throughout Saturday, Sunday, and into the weekdays.
The remaining wild card factor, of course, is the pandemic and rising caution in response to the Omicron variant. As the Marvel faithful turn out for these early shows, the question still remains as to how strong walk-up business will remain for the increasingly casual would-be moviegoers out there. So far, there doesn’t seem to be much of an impact — but no one can rule out the possibility that there might be one as virus cases continue to rise.
Furthermore, word of mouth is on fire as the film boasts a 99 percent audience score from more than 10,000 fan ratings on Rotten Tomatoes as of Saturday morning. Critics have given it a resounding 94 percent.
Approaching the mid-weekend point, we’re now projecting between a $245 million and $265 million opening frame for No Way Home with a pinpoint projection at $254 million — but considerable potential to go higher.
The all-time December record currently belongs to The Force Awakens ($247.97 million), which is also the third highest opening weekend in history and former all-time record holder at the time of its release. The studio now projects $242 million.
After Endgame‘s standard-bearing $357.1 million, the second largest weekend in history belongs to Avengers: Infinity War ($257.7 million). While the former of those two will be out of reach for Spidey, Force Awakens and Infinity War are clearly within reach based on initial results.
Among the top five debuts ever, No Way Home is now virtually locked to surpass Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($220 million) and Jurassic World ($208.8 million).
More updates will follow as necessary throughout the weekend. A full global report from Sony is expected on Sunday.
Key international market totals through Friday:
South Korea $12.2M
Friday, December 17 Report: Sony reports this morning that Spider-Man: No Way Home webbed $50 million from Thursday’s domestic previews beginning at 3pm in 3,767 theaters, marking the third highest preview gross in history — pandemic or otherwise.
Notably, No Way Home‘s $50 million Thursday landed squarely within our forecast range, which you can read more about in this detailed analysis outlining what to expect from the rest of the weekend.
Not only did last night’s figure more than triple Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s previous $15.4 million in July 2017, it exceeded Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($45 million, December 2017), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ($40 million, December 2019), and Avengers: Infinity War ($39 million, April 2018).
No Way Home‘s historic start trails only the all-time record of Avengers: Endgame ($60 million, April 2019) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ still-standing December benchmark ($57 million, December 2015).
While all of those films had later start times than Spidey’s 3pm, there’s no way to slice this as anything other than a massive success for the film industry amid ongoing pandemic challenges and concerns.
Projections are still fluid this early in the weekend, but sales for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are quite robust. We continue to expect an opening day near or over $100 million with a strong chance at exceeding $200 million for the weekend, as per final forecasts in the previous report.
While Sony hasn’t yet updated full global numbers, IMAX does add that the format accounted for 10.3 percent of domestic grosses on Thursday, or $5.14 million. That’s the company’s third best Thursday night result in history.
Globally, IMAX has tallied $10.1 million from No Way Home through Thursday.
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