New Year’s Weekend Box Office Forecast: Spider-Man: No Way Home Targets 3rd #1 Frame as Omicron Caution Continues through Holiday Stretch

Photo Credits: Sony & Marvel Studios ("Spider-Man: No Way Home"); Universal & Illumination ("Sing 2"); Warner Bros. ("The Matrix Resurrections"); 20th Century Studios ("The King's Man"); Lionsgate ("American Underdog"); Sony Pictures / Columbia ("A Journal for Jordan")

The movie industry will say goodbye to 2021 and welcome 2022 with Sony and Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man: No Way Home ringing in the new year atop the box office for a third straight weekend as holdovers set the pace of the coming holiday frame.

The web-slinging phenom has amassed $516.4 million domestically and $1.16 billion worldwide through Tuesday, December 28, making it Sony’s highest grossing film in history on both counts. With that daily tally, No Way Home became the third fastest of all-time to surpass the $500 million domestic threshold — doing so in 12 days. Only Avengers: Endgame (8) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (10) bested it.

Although last weekend’s haul came in on the lower end of expectations, No Way Home remains the driving force of the market. Christmas Eve softened initial weekend performance before an expected Christmas Day bump, but continued concerns surrounding the Omicron variant of COVID-19 are skewing all projection models even for holdover business.

The holiday corridor is notorious for producing wonky trajectories at the daily box office, but that’s a challenge now compounded by the state of the lingering pandemic.

With that caveat in mind, even conservative models have Spidey surpassing the $600 million domestic mark by or before next Monday. No Way Home will certainly top The Lion King (2018)‘s $543.6 million lifetime gross before then. To enter the top ten all-time domestic earners, it will need to surpass Incredibles 2‘s $608.58 million.

Sing 2 did, however, come close to low-end long range expectations with a $39.55 million five-day debut last week — even though that fell shy of final forecasts. Those were admittedly more bullish in the wake of Spider-Man‘s massive success and Sing 2‘s own strong pre-sales and November sneak preview sellouts. Clearly, however, families remain cautious as women over 35 — and mothers, especially — pay close attention to the rise in COVID cases at the start of winter.

Nevertheless, Sing 2 remains the top animated performer of the pandemic so far with $47 million earned domestically in six days. That bests Encanto‘s $41.8 million six-day start last month after a Thanksgiving week launch. Positive word of mouth and theatrical exclusivity should aid Sing 2‘s second weekend performance as those families coming back to theaters take in one last chance to do so before school and work resume next week.

Elsewhere, The Matrix Resurrections fell far short of even conservative expectations with a $22.5 million five-day bow through Sunday, and lukewarm reception isn’t helping it. The sequel sank over 63 percent from Sunday to Monday, an unusual drop during the holidays even for a weekday performance. Given the history of Warner Bros.’ hybrid releases to experience sharp second weekend declines throughout 2021, it wouldn’t be surprising if Resurrections follows suit despite no competition entering the market and a holiday weekend in a play.

The King’s Man also fell on the low end of forecasts last week, overshadowed by the No Way Home behemoth due to significant crossover appeal with male audiences. The somewhat-older portion of that demographic could help King‘s somewhat through the remaining holiday sessions, but the damage is likely done at this point as the market simply was too saturated with male-driven action films as pandemic concerns remain in play.

American Underdog somewhat bucked the trend of under-performances last weekend, though, as it landed close to pre-release forecasts. Whether it ends up being front-loaded by faith-based audiences or shows some staying power through the new year remains to be seen, but word of mouth is strong.

Meanwhile, Licorice Pizza should continue enjoying its nationwide expansion with strong reception and a likely award season run to come after the holidays.

All around, while New Year’s 2010-2011 mostly saw films increase from Christmas weekend with only a few exceptions, we’re revising models to a more conservative spectrum at this stage given the abnormalities present in recent weeks — namely Spider-Man‘s must-see dominance in tandem with ongoing Omicron impact.

Weekend Forecast

Boxoffice projects between a 25 to 35 percent decrease for this weekend’s top ten films from last weekend’s $141.1 million top ten aggregate. 

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, January 2 Location Count % Change from Last Wknd
Spider-Man: No Way Home Sony Pictures / Columbia / Marvel Studios $52,500,000 $609,000,000   -38%
Sing 2 Universal Pictures $18,100,000 $85,700,000   -18%
American Underdog Lionsgate / Kingdom Story Company $5,400,000 $16,400,000   -8%
The Matrix Resurrections Warner Bros. Pictures $5,300,000 $34,600,000   -56%
The King’s Man Disney / 20th Century Studios $4,500,000 $19,100,000   -24%
West Side Story (2021) Disney / 20th Century Studios $2,500,000 $29,500,000   -12%
A Journal for Jordan Sony Pictures / Columbia $1,900,000 $5,700,000   -13%
Licorice Pizza United Artists Releasing $1,600,000 $6,700,000   -17%
Encanto Walt Disney Pictures $1,400,000 $91,800,000   -23%
Ghostbusters: Afterlife Sony Pictures / Columbia $1,000,000 $122,900,000   -16%

All forecasts are subject to revision before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts are updated as confirmed by studiosThe above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.

Photo Credits: Sony & Marvel Studios ("Spider-Man: No Way Home"); Universal & Illumination ("Sing 2"); Warner Bros. ("The Matrix Resurrections"); 20th Century Studios ("The King's Man"); Lionsgate ("American Underdog"); Sony Pictures / Columbia ("A Journal for Jordan")